"FOR 160 DAYS WE MARCHED THROUGH THE FOREST": DELUXE FIRST EDITION OF IN DARKEST AFRICA, 1890, ONE OF ONLY 250 COPIES SIGNED BY STANLEY
STANLEY, Henry M. In Darkest Africa or the Quest, Rescue and Retreat of Emin Governor of Equatoria. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1890. Two volumes. Large thick quarto (10 by 12 inches), publisher's three-quarter dark brown morocco, raised bands, vellum boards, top edges gilt, uncut. $15,000.
Deluxe signed limited first edition, American issue, number 39 of only 250 copies signed by Stanley, of the classic 19th-century account of African exploration. Profusely illustrated with engraved frontispieces, 38 mounted plates on India paper, six additional full-page etchings (each signed by the artist), three color folding maps (two backed in cloth), a folding table of comparative vocabularies, and numerous mounted, in-text India-prints.
Perhaps no adventurer is more closely connected with Africa than Lord Stanley, whose various expeditions did more to reveal the nature of that continent than any modern explorer. His 1887 mission to relieve the besieged governor of Egypt, his last mission to Africa, ended miserably when Stanley arrived only to learn that the governor did not care to be relieved, but instead was angry at the Englishman for interfering in his affairs. This account contains the harrowing details of Stanley's journey through the nearly impenetrable Ituri, or Great Congo, Forest, which he traversed not once but three times over the course of his travels. The conditions were brutal; sometimes the expedition could achieve no more than three or four hundred yards an hour. Along the way Stanley compiled important data on the Pygmies and discovered the Ruwenzori, or "Mountains of the Moon." The perilous journey nearly cost Stanley his life, and only a third of the men with whom he set out returned alive. Published in the same year and using the same sheets as the English issue (also limited to 250 copies). Hosken, 189.
Text and plates generally clean and fine, bindings mildly toned. An extremely good, handsome copy of the scarce deluxe signed edition.