TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA

TRAVELS IN ARABIA DESERTA

(Cambridge: At the University Press, 1888).

ONE OF THE GREATEST WORKS OF TRAVEL EVER WRITTEN IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. THIS IS THE VERY SCARCE TRUE FIRST EDITION.
T.E. Lawrence in his introduction to the 1921 edition describes this 'not like other books...a bible of its kind'. In referring to Doughty's own impressions of his effort, Lawrence states: '[H]e calls his book the seeing of a hungry man, the telling of a most weary man."
ARABIA DESERTA is one of the best-known classics of exploration and travel. Few writers of any genre have worked such magic or mischief on the English language as Doughty. He disapproved of Victorian prose style, and mingled his own with Chaucerian and Elizabethan English and Arabic.
But whatever the style, the result is perhaps the finest book on Arabia ever written. Another Arabist, T.E. Lawrence, speaks on Doughty: "I have talked the book over with many travellers, and we are agreed that here you have all the desert, its hills and plains, the lava fields, the villages, the tents, the men and animals. They are told of the life, with words and phrases fitted to them so perfectly that one cannot dissociate them in memory. It is the true Arabia, the land with its smells and dirt, as well as its nobility and freedom. There is no sentiment, nothing merely picturesque, that most common failing of oriental travel-books. Doughty's completeness is devastating. There is nothing we would take away, little we could add. He took all Arabia for his province, and has left to his successors only the poor part of specialists. We may write books on parts of the desert or some of the history of it; but there can never be another picture of the whole, in our time, because here it is all said..." (- from the Introduction). Item #15549

2 volumes. First edition. With numerous drawings, diagrams and folding plans and maps in text, including a color folding map in rear pocket. 8vo, green cloth lettered in gilt on spine and with large gilt pictorial vignettes of desert scenery and fauna on upper covers. xx, 623; xiv, 690, glossary & index. A very nice set of this scarce work. With no repairs and the hinges still in very good order without breaks or separations, unusual for these heavy volumes. The giltwork on the cloth is still very bright, especially so the large vignettes on the covers as well as the spine lettering. The cloth is still deep rich green and unfaded, surface polish applied to the cloth to protect the gilt, only light aging to the cloth.

Price: $7,500.00