London, South Kensington
3 May 2007
PURCHAS, Samuel (?1575-1626). Purchas his Pilgrimage. Or Relations of the World and the Religions observed in all ages and places discovered. London: William Stansby, 1613. 2° (268 x 175mm). Woodcut initials and headpieces (title torn, very lightly varnished and repaired on verso, the 2 dedicatory leaves cut away at foremargins without loss, occasional light spotting and mainly marginal browning, lacking final blank). Modern old-style panelled calf, spine with raised bands and red morocco lettering-piece, new endpapers. Provenance: Reynold's Library (blindstamp on title); Archball Camball, J. Campbell, 1743, ?J. Comert Illiudes (old signatures on final leaf).
FIRST EDITION. One of the most famous and influential of early travel writers, Samuel Purchas devoted his life to collecting accounts of voyages around the world. The present work, his magnum opus, established him, as much as Herodotus, as one of the founders of the modern global travel narrative. In addition, it is said to have been one of the sources of Shakespeare's The Tempest, and aficianados of Samuel Taylor Coleridge might hear intriguing echoes in a passage from p.350: "In Xanadu did Cublai Can build a stately pallace ...". STC 20505; Lowndes V, 2011; Sabin 66678.
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