7 - 8 April 2004
BURTON, Richard Francis. First Footsteps in East Africa; or, An Exploration of Harar. London: Longman, Brown, 1856.
8° (210 x 145mm). Half title. Two maps and 4 colour lithograph plates. Containing the first leaf of the exceptionally rare and suppressed Appendix IV, p. 593/4. The second leaf of the Appendix, p. 595 [verso blank], is supplied in facsimile. (Plates damp-stained at lower margin). Publisher's School Prize Binding of blue cloth with bevelled edges, spine and upper cover fully gilt-decorated, lower cover blind-stamped, gilt edges, (recased with original spine relaid), somewhat faded, new yellow endpapers.
FIRST EDITION, SECOND ISSUE (?) OF THE AUTHOR'S FIRST AFRICAN EXPEDITION, with one leaf of the suppressed Appendix IV on female circumcision, in a School Prize Binding. Of the five appendices, this alone was printed in Latin, with the English title: 'A Brief Description of Certain Peculiar Customs.' Once understood by the publishers it was withdrawn and replaced with an apology. Copies with Appendix IV are excessively rare. The Spink Catalogue, 1976 states that 'it is probable that only those few copies (possibly not more than 6), for Burton's own private use, were ever printed with Appendix IV,' and that his copy in the R.A.I. does not contain it. On his return to Bombay from Mecca in 1854, Burton revived the East India Company programme of exploration in Somalia and the Horn of Africa to make his first African expedition. Also on the expedition were Capt. Speke and Lieut. Herne who took a different route into the interior (related by Speke in Appendix I). Burton crossed the desert and entered Harar, the first European to reach it and discovered that 'infibulation prevailed among the Somalis.' His book caused a sensation. Penzer p. 60-63. Casada 35. Spink 16.
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