7 - 8 April 2004
BURTON, Richard Francis. Ultima Thule; or, A Summer in Iceland. London and Edinburgh: William P. Nimmo, 1875.
2 volumes, 8° (229 x 155mm). Two folding maps, 11 lithographic or engraved plates. Original blue cloth gilt, covers decorated in gilt and black, (slightly worn).
FIRST EDITION PRESENTATION COPY FROM THE AUTHOR, inscribed 'With the kindest regards of Al-Haj Abdullah' [in Arabic] on Vol. I endpaper verso. With no acceptable consular post in the offing and still in financial straits, Burton accepted a private offer to explore the sulphur mining potential of Iceland. He sailed in June 1872, saw the sights, which he subjected to unkind comparison with all he knew in the East and Africa. His mining report was of little value, gleaned mostly from earlier sources. In his absence, Isabel accepted a posting to Trieste. Richard longed for Morocco; Trieste was a further step down the diplomatic ladder but once there he kept up a feverish pace completing manuscripts for publication and articles for scholarly journals. He also completed a sequel to his Icelandic book but try as Isabel did, it never found a publisher. (2)
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