A Tour Thro' the whole Island of Great Britain, Divided into Circuits or Journies.

DEFOE Daniel (1724 - 1725 - 1727)

£3500.00  [First Edition]

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Giving A Particular and Diverting Account of Whatever is Curious and worth Observation, Viz. I. A Description of the Principal Cities and Towns, their Situation, Magnitude, Government, and Commerce. II. The Customs, Manners, Speech, as also the Exercise, Diversions, and Employment of the People. III. The Produce and Improvements of the Lands, the Trade, and Manufactures. IV. The Sea Ports and Fortifications, the Course of the Rivers, and the Inland Navigation. V. The Publick Edifices, Seats, and Palaces of the Nobility and Gentry. With Useful Observations upon the Whole. Particularly fitted for the Reading of such as desire to travel over the Island.


First Edition. 3 vols. 8vo. [viii], 144, 121, 127, [1 (last leaf addenda/errata)]; [2 (advertisement)], viii, 192, 200, xxxvi (index to vols. 1 & 2); viii, 239, [1 (blank)], 230, [xxvi (index + 5pp. advertisements for Mears)]; 20 (advertisements for Knapton) pp. With the folding plan of the siege of Colchester in the first volume, the map of England and Wales in the second volume, and the map of Scotland in the third volume (all three maps rebacked, repairing tears). Contemporary blind-panelled calf, plain spines with the second panels numbered in gilt, manuscript title "Tour / thro / Britain" in ink in the fourth panels (joints cracked or slightly cracked but firm).


London: Printed, and Sold by G. Strahan, in Cornhill. [etc],

Moore, Defoe, Nos. 459-61. Furbank & Owens, Defoe, Nos. 220, 223, 230.


Marginal worming in all three volumes, affecting the index in vol. III, but a very attractive copy, with the original binding in good condition; hard to find thus. With the addenda leaf at the end of vol. I, advertisement leaf for books printed for W. Mears before the title of vol. II, and 5pp of book advertisements for W. Mears, followed by 20pp of advertisements for books printed for James and John Knapton at the end of vol. III. 


"Also in 1722 Defoe began writing a series of respected books that changed his reputation again. He began Atlas maritimus, a huge economic geography with maps protected by a royal patent, and A Tour thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain, the only book written by Defoe that has consistently been described as approaching belles-lettres. As Pat Rogers says, A Tour 'has been lauded by the most eminent historians as a prime source of understanding for Britain', both in the eighteenth century and in 'the birth of the modern on a global scale' (Rogers, 11). As Defoe said in The Great Law of Subordination Consider'd, 'I made myself Master of the History, and ancient State of England, I resolv'd in the next Place, to make my self Master of its Present State also' (P. Rogers, introduction to D. DefoeA Tour thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain, 1971, 34). Defoe's love for his country is everywhere in this survey of the entire nation. He begins his Tour with the statement that his subject is 'the most flourishing and opulent Country in the World', ..


"Alive to landscape as he had seldom shown himself to be before Captain Singleton, he described scene after scene in books written in this period and invested these descriptions with the expansiveness and harmony of his vision for his country. He remarked on 'the glorious interspersing of capital Cities', the 'safe and capacious Havens', 'magnificent Buildings', 'innumerable Beauties [that] render the … View desirable and pleasant, and that in the most solid and significant manner'. He was simultaneously alive to history, to commercial produce and possibilities, and to the new tourist industry. The result was that he was the first to compose a book equally useful for those who wanted to view historical antiquities, to tour stately homes, to study agricultural and estate improvements, and to take a picturesque tour (in Rogers's words, 'a kind of aesthetic adventure' for persons of sensibility; Rogers, 40)." - ODNB.


Provenance: Bookplate neatly removed from the front pastedowns. Contemporary ink purchase note on the front flyleaf of vol.1 "K 3V: ais" and ink shelf numbers "157" in the top panel of the spines. Anonymous sale, Sotheby, 19/2/1951, lot 75, £18 to Maggs, offered in Catalogue 951 (circa 1975) [in reserve stock since]

Stock Code: 50806

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