7 - 8 April 2004
BURTON, Richard Francis (Ed.). Wit and Wisdom from West Africa; or, A Book of Proverbial Philosophy, Idioms, Enigmas, and Laconisms. London: Tinsley Brothers, 1865. 8° (212 x 140mm). Original red cloth gilt, covers triple-ruled and with central medallion in blind.
RARE FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE of the first of Burton's published translations. By this date Burton knew twenty-nine languages and nearly a dozen dialects but this and 'Vikram and the Vampire' were his only published translations until 'Arabian Nights' in 1885. The book's importance is that the material was taken from seven different West African languages and previously had been in oral only. Penzer p. 75-76. Casada 71. Spink 36.
[Together with another issue:] FIRST EDITION, SECOND ISSUE. 8°. Original blind-stamped patterned plum cloth gilt, spine illustrated and lettered in gilt: 'Negro Wit and Wisdom,' (covers rubbed, frayed at head of spine), noted by Penzer as a remainder binding. It was during his two years in Brazil that Burton produced this and four other titles in nine volumes on his West African experiences. Penzer p. 75-76. Casada 71. (2)
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