SUPERB PRESENTATION COPY OF THE LIMITED DELUXE FIRST EDITION OF SHACKLETON’S HEART OF THE ANTARCTIC AND THE ANTARCTIC BOOK: SIGNED BY HIM AND ALL OF THE MEMBERS OF THE EXPEDITION, ADDITIONALLY BOLDLY INSCRIBED AT LENGTH BY SHACKLETON
SHACKLETON, Ernest. Heart of the Antarctic. Being the Story of the British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909. Two volumes. WITH: The Antarctic Book. Winter quarters 1907-1909. London: William Heinemann, 1909. Together, three volumes. Quarto, original full (Heart of the Antarctic) and half (Antarctic Book) vellum, top edges gilt, uncut. Each volume housed in a custom slipcase.
Very rare presentation copy of the first edition, Special Limited Large Paper Issue, of Shackleton’s fascinating and richly illustrated account of the British Antarctic Expedition of 1907-1909, number 183 of only 300 copies printed, together with the first and only edition of The Antarctic Book, with the signatures of every member of the shore party, including Shackleton. This copy additionally inscribed at length by Shackleton on the front free endpaper of Volume I: "Joseph Causton with the author's kindest wishes and grateful remembrance of all the kindness received, Ernest Shackleton." Causton and his Eastleigh printing firm supplied materials and trained the printers of Aurora Australis, the first book ever printed in the Antarctic.
Shackleton had first gained fame as a member of Scott's expedition of 1901-02. In 1908, accompanied by three companions and four ponies, he led his own expedition and approached within 100 miles of the South Pole before being forced to return due to lack of supplies, outdistancing his predecessors to a degree unequalled in the history of polar exploration, and proving conclusively the feasibility of reaching the Pole. While Shackleton's heroic journey southward was the greatest achievement of this expedition, it was also noteworthy for the first attainment of the Magnetic South Pole and the first ascent of Mt. Erebus, both achieved in separate journeys led by T.W. Edgeworth, as well as for substantially increasing knowledge of the region's geology.
The Antarctic Book, which includes the 16 signatures of the shore party, was issued only with this Limited Edition of The Heart of the Antarctic and has never been reprinted. It contains reproductions of drawings done by the party, including four mounted color portraits, the poem "Erebus" by Shackleton and the whimsical story "Bathybia" by Douglas Mawson, also a member of the party. Shackleton himself had edited and supervised production of South Polar Times, a typewritten magazine that chronicled life for the expedition members during Scott's expedition. For Shackleton's Nimrod expedition, there would be no periodical, but Shackleton was determined to produce a full book, written, illustrated, printed and bound in the Antarctic—the first of its kind. "The publication was the result of substantial planning. Messrs Joseph Causton and Sons, an Eastleigh printing firm, had provided a crash course in typesetting and printing for Joyce and Wild, and in etching and lithography for Marston, together with a complete printing outfit and the necessary paper. But the conditions in which the book were produced were excessively difficult" (Locke, "George Marston: Shackleton's Antarctic Artist"). In the end, only about 60 copies of this book, titled Aurora Australis, are known to have survived, and it is estimated that this is close to the total number bound up. (Of course, some of the contents of Aurora Australis went on to form The Antarctic Book, the very scarce third volume present in this deluxe issue of the first edition.) This beautiful copy of the limited edition of Heart of the Antarctic was presented by Shackleton, with his gratitude, to Joseph Causton for the material and training he and his printing firm provided to make Aurora Australis, the first book published in Antarctica, a reality. This limited edition copy includes, of course, The Antarctic Book, which grew out of Aurora Australis. Second state of The Antarctic Book, with only three items listed on the contents page (the first state listed an additional poem by Shackleton; this was later corrected and appended to the preceding poem, of which it formed a portion). All volumes printed on specially made Van Gelder paper, watermarked "1907 BAE 1909." With 16 mounted color plates, photographic frontispieces, and over 200 additional illustrations, including drawings and photographic plates. Three folding maps and a folding panorama enclosed in the rear pocket of Volume II. Conrad, 148. Rosove 305.A2. Spence 1096. Taurus 57.
Fine condition. A beautiful and superb presentation-association copy of the rare multi-signed limited edition.