3 parts in 1 vol., 12mo, pp. xxiv, 336, [4, titles to second and third parts], 60, 96; half-title, woodcut head- and tail-pieces; a very good, clean and crisp copy in contemporary mottled sheep, spine gilt in compartments with lettering-piece, marbled endpapers, red edges; head- and tailbands wanting, some rubbing to extremities and boards but an attractive copy; small book label ‘Eyriès’ to front pastedown.
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Histoire de Saint-Kilda, imprimée en 1764, traduite de l’Anglois, contenant la description de cette isle remarquable; les moeurs & les coutumes de ses habitants; les antiquités religieuses & payennes qu’on y a trouvées, avec plusieurs autres particularités curieuses & intéressantes ...
First French edition of three travelogues owned by the renowned French geographer and author Jean-Baptiste Benoît Eyriès (1767-1846), who is remembered today as much for his translations (he spoke nine languages) as for his original contributions to geography. Eyriès was an avid bibliophile; in 1795 he began to collect works related to travel and geography, and by the time of his death had amassed a library of over twenty thousand volumes, many now held in the municipal library of Le Havre. Due to his familiarity with geographic literature, his extensive scientific knowledge, and his ability as a translator, Eyriès not only became a founding member of the Société de Géographie, the world’s oldest geographical society, but was also named its honorary president; he was also admitted to the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, and awarded the Legion of Honour.
A mixture of anthropological and geographical allure appears to have drawn Eyriès to this volume; the translator of the first work writes of the people of St Kilda that ‘leurs coutumes bizarres m’ont engagé à sacrificer quelques heures de mes loisirs à faire passer dans ma langue une relation assez curieuse’, whilst the two following parts are concerned with the Great Northern Expeditions undertaken by the Russian Navy under Tsar Peter I in the eighteenth century in the hope of identifying a northern sea route to the Americas. Their varied subject matter brings together in a single volume both the human and physical aspects of eighteenth-century geographical practice, at a time when the discipline was just beginning to be codified as an independent science, while documenting the eighteenth century’s greatest cartographic efforts.
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