"INCOMPARABLY THE BEST TRANSLATION OF MARCO POLO'S TRAVELS": 1818 FIRST EDITION
(POLO, Marco) MARSDEN, William. The Travels of Marco Polo, a Venetian, in the Thirteenth Century. Being a Description, by that Early Traveller, of Remarkable Places and Things, in the Eastern Parts of the World. London: Printed for the Author, 1818. Quarto, rebound in full tree calf gilt using old boards, red morocco spine labels, raised bands, marbled endpapers. $6500.
First edition of "incomparably the best translation of the celebrated travels of Marco Polo" (Allibone), with large engraved folding map by Walker & Sons under the direction of Rennell.
This superb translation of Marco Polo's Travels by renowned scholar William Marsden brings to life one of the best known of all travel accounts: Polo's groundbreaking journey across the Silk Road that notably includes his encounter with the much-feared Genghis Khan. "So extraordinary was that Empire, and so vivid Polo's recount of the many lands and diverse peoples, religions and cultures, apart from his cataloguing of governance and trade, that his Travels met with doubt and skepticism for centuries. Until today, that is, when 200 years of scholarly research and scrupulous revisions of the several principal texts have substantiated most of his revelations" (California Literary Review). "Polo's travels endured so long in the imagination that, 500 years later, Coleridge was inspired to use some of their details in a work of visionary intensity. They colored all subsequent imaginings of China until 1948—and may do once again. This is a world of almost inconceivable possibility" (Guardian). Preceded only by Frampton's Elizabethan translation of 1579. Marsden's Travels of Marco Polo is particularly valuable for its copious notes, expert commentary and comprehensive index. "In all respects one of the best-edited books that has ever been published" (Allibone). Even later editors of Polo remark that the Marsden edition should always be regarded with respect. Bound without half title, but with leaf of errata and advertisements at the rear. Lowndes, 1907. Contemporary ink owner signature to title page.
Faint offsetting from map to title page, text quite clean. A desirable, wide-margined copy.