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FIRST FOOTSTEPS IN EAST AFRICA or, An Exploration of Harar. Edited By His Wife, Isabel Burton
London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1856. First edition. With four color lithographed plates, two maps, and seven illustrations in the text. 8vo, original red-orange cloth gilt lettered on the spine and decorated in blind on the covers, expertly and sympathetically rebacked retaining the original spine. xli, 648, 24 ads. A very good copy with the inevitable age mellowing. AN IMPORTANT BURTON FIRST EDITION and a seminal work of Africana recording Burton's first expedition into Somalia. His purpose was to explore the forbidden Moslem city of Harar, "a city whose walls no European had ever penetrated," as well as to gather information about the headwaters of the Nile. He travelled in the same disguise that took him to Mecca, as Haji Mirza Abdullah, an Arab merchant. It was on this expedition that Burton was first joined by John Speke, at the suggestion of James Outram. Speke originally abetted Burton's plans in Somalia, but differences quickly arose between the two, and Speke over the years became Burton's great nemesis, taking credit for discovering the Nile and deprecating Burton's efforts in every sphere. On this journey, despite the success of the primary objective, Lieut. Stroyan died and Burton received the famous spear wound to his face during an attack by Somalis while encamped on the beach at Berberah. Burton’s intellectual influence is far-reaching. His amazing grasp of languages and culture anticipates the globalism of the future. His geographical discoveries not only make him an interesting historical figure but also allowed for future exploration. The detail with which he wrote and his willingness to examine intimate aspects of daily life were precursors to modern ethnography. And his understanding and willingness to immerse himself in cultures that are still little understood by those in Western nation-states is enlightening on many levels. He was the first European to enter Mecca, first to explore Somaliland, and first to discover the great lakes of Central Africa. A prolific writer, he published 43 volumes on exploration and travel, two volumes of poetry, over a hundred articles and 143 pages of autobiography. He translated sixteen volumes of The Arabian Nights, six volumes of Portuguese literature, two volumes of Latin poetry, and four volumes of folklore (Neapolitan, African and Hindu). His occupations included; soldier, writer, explorer, foreign emissary, translator and linguist, sword fighter, ethnographer and archaeologist.
      [Bookseller: Buddenbrooks, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2013-07-26           Check availability:      Biblio    

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