Farther North Than Nansen.
AMEDEO Luigi, HRH Duke of the Abruzzi (1901.)
£600.00 [First Edition]
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First edition. Frontispiece, a folding plate, & 2 photographic illustrations to text. 8vo. Original pictorial cloth, a little grubby but very good, bookplate to front free endpaper, inscription to front pastedown. 97, pp. London, Howard Wilford Bell,
In 1898, having conquered Mt Saint Elias on the border of Canada and Alaska, the Duke sought a grander enterprise and settled on attaining the North Pole. Howgego describes the Duke's approach to the pole in winning fashion: "Unlike other explorers who sought the pole in pursuit of personal fame and glory, Abruzzi regarded the pole as something akin to an Alpine peak, the ascension of which would bring 'moral advantage' to mankind in general, and to Italy in particular." The Duke's was one of the last aristocrat explorers: his wealth allowed them to erect lavish winter quarters and Christmas was celebrated with a champagne feast.
For all the luxury and attendant high-spirits, it proved a difficult expedition: in December 1899 when in the midst of a blinding snowstorm, Abruzzi and his second in command Cagni drove their sledges into the ocean. Further ill beset Cagni in February 1900 when he fell into a channel of open water. A small sledging party went missing entirely, and the cold was such that some of their dogs froze. Abruzzi was left in such poor health that he could not continue and the charge for the pole was delegated to Cagni, who along with three guides reached 86' 34" north - 34 kilometres ahead of Nansen's furthest north.
Seemingly just one of 500 copies printed, this was owned by the Scottish ornithologist Hugh Gladstone. He has written a lengthy inscription having met both the Duke and Cagni on their return from their ascent of Mt. Ruwenzori in 1906.
Howgego III, A2.
Stock Code: 227383