‘a major work’ (rosove)
4 volumes, octavo (214 x 137mm), pp. I: [i]-xvii, [1 (blank)], 1-182; II: [i]-viii, 183-370; III: [i]-viii, 371-554; IV: [i]-viii, 555-831, [3 (blank)]. Colour-printed frontispiece in vol. I; 23 plates and charts, 2 folding and 13 bearing illustrations recto-and-verso, and one folding map; maps and plans in the text, some full-page. Original blue cloth, upper boards with Society’s device in gilt and blind-ruled borders, spines lettered in gilt, dustwrappers. (Very light offsetting on endpapers, dustwrappers lightly rubbed at edges.) A fine set in very good dustwrappers.
First edition. 2nd series, nos. 152-155. Forster (1729-1798), the father of George (or Georg) Forster, was the principal naturalist on Cook’s second voyage aboard the Resolution, and this is the first publication of his six-volume manuscript journal: ‘[a]s the journal of a highly literate landsman-at-sea it offers many new typically unrestrained insights into the day-to-day relationships, life and thinking and theory-testing on this, the most scientific and epic of Cook’s three voyages. It is also the fundament upon which George Forster wrote his classic travelogue A Voyage Round the World (1777), that humane influence – in many translations – upon science and belles-lettres. It is, too, the key to the science and anthropology of this voyage, the central document to understanding the naturalists’ day-to-day work and finds’ (dustwrapper blurb). In the course of this voyage, Cook was ‘the first to cross the Antarctic Circle, on Jan. 17, 1773, repeating this feat on Dec. 20, 1773, and on Jan. 26, 1774. He circumnavigated Antarctica at high latitudes (again, the first to do so), and concluded that if Antarctica existed at all it must be very cold indeed (Cook reached a new southing record of 71° 10’S) and completely barren. He did discover the South Sandwich Islands, however, as well as South Georgia, and it was his publication of this fact that led to the seal rush of the late 18th-early 19th centuries, and thus to real exploration of Antarctica’ (J. Stewart, Antarctica. An Encyclopedia (Jefferson, NC and London: 1990), p. 208). Conrad judges that, ‘[t]he journal reads well, with detailed editorial notes about the scientific observations’ and considers it ‘an excellent introduction to the expedition’s events and accomplishments’.
Compassing the Vaste Globe of the Earth, 2/152-155; Conrad p. 12; Rosove 141.A1 (‘Uncommon […] A major work’).
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