Maggs Bros Ltd

Travels in Arabia Deserta.

DOUGHTY Charles M. (1888.)

£10000.00  [First Edition]

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First edition. 2 volumes. Large coloured, linen-backed, folding map (in rear pocket) & 8 plates (including 1 heliograph), some folding, with illustrations in the text. 8vo. Original green cloth with gilt vignettes on upper boards. Cambridge: at the University Press.

A very good copy indeed, with the joints very slightly strained, but no wear or soiling to the binding, in a fine modern folding box. Bookplates of Percy Scawen Wyndham, influential politician and connoisseur, and cousin to Wilfrid Scawen Blunt.

Having been rejected by the Navy on medical grounds, Doughty pursued an academic career at Cambridge, before travelling extensively throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. Whilst exploring the ruins at Petra in 1875 Doughty learned of further similar sights on the pilgrim route to Medina, and resolving to reach these he approached both the Turkish authorities and the R.G.S.. Neither would give their permission or support and Doughty taking matters into his own hands he spent a year in Damascus in the garb of an Arab Christian learning Arabic before joining the pilgrim caravan and travelling throughout Arabia.

Rejected by four publishers Arabia Deserta was published in 1888 some ten years after Doughty's return to England. This work however went largely unnoticed by the general public until the abridged edition of 1908, and more importantly the reissue of the full text with T.E. Lawrence's introduction in 1921. Doughty's arcane Spenserian style was a significant influence on Lawrence's own writing style.

"No one has looked so narrowly at the Arab and the life of Arabia as Doughty, and no one has painted them in literature with a touch so sensitive and sure. And not only Bedawin life of whose hardships he suffered to the last wandering as one poorer than the poorest, but also the life of the oasis towns of the Nejd... One can do Doughty's pages no justice by quotation... His book belongs to that rare and supreme class in which the author speaks not for himself, but for all who might find themselves in like case" (Hogarth).

A fine copy of this seminal work in the history of relations between Britain and the Arab world.

Stock Code: 225555