26 September 2002
JOHANN GEORG ADAM FORSTER (1754-1794)
A Voyage Round the World, in this Britannic Majesty's Sloop, Resolution, commanded by Capt. James Cook, during the Years 1772,3,4, and 5. London: for B.White, J.Robson, P.Elmsley and G.Robinson, 1777. 2 volumes, 4° (260 x 215mm.). Title of vol.I a cancel. 1 large folding map. (Old creasing and small tears to map, title to vol.I slightly soiled.) Contemporary calf gilt (re-backed, old spine laid down, extremities scuffed, corners bumped).
Henry Small (inscription); Rev. William Carter (inscription dated 1799); Francis Bowes Lyons (armorial bookplate).
FIRST EDITION. Johann Reinhold Forster and his seventeen-year-old son Johann Georg Adam Forster took part in Cook's second voyage as naturalists. 'The elder Forster proved to be a highly capable scientist and a keen observer - his works proved him a veritable genius in many disciplines - but he had a disagreeable personality and quickly alienated the expedition's staff' (Rosove). This 'disagreeable personality' came to the fore after the expedition's return during a misunderstanding over who was to write the official account of the voyage: Forster senior refused to collaborate with Cook over the work and withdrew after undertaking not to publish his own account before Cook's official version was published. In an apparent effort to circumvent this agreement, Forster the younger wrote the present work, based to his father's and Cook's journal and his own recollections. It was published in March 1777, six weeks before Cook's work. 'For all the controversy, A Voyage round the World is an interesting and important account that complements the official one with facts and astute observations on the human side of the voyage' (Rosove). Conrad p.12; Mitchell Cook 1247; Rosove 132.A1c ('Scarce'); Spence 464. (2)
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