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Relacão do Novo Caminho que Fez por Terra, e Mar, vindo sa India para Portugal no anno de 1663
Lisbon: Officina de Henrique Valente de Oliveir, 1665. First and the only contemporary edition of one of the earliest and certainly the most interesting Jesuit accounts of India, a classic of Portuguese travel literature from the very end of Portuguese domination of the country, written shortly before Bombay was ceded once and for all to the English in accordance with the Anglo-Portuguese peace treaty of 1661. A Portuguese Jesuit, Godinho was in India from 1655 to 1663, and the work gives a closely observed picture of Indian society: “The State of India is so decrepit that we have it only in name. If it has not died yet, it is because it has not found a grave commensurate with its greatness. If once a tree, it is now a trunk; if once a building, it is now a ruin; if once a man, it is now a stump...” (p. 26). The work contains an overview of India, followed by individual chapters on Bassein, Daman, and Surat, where he recounts his theological discussion with a Hindi Brahmin and gives an account of the great Mughal; whence on to Ormuz, the Persia Gulf, Iraq, Syria and Egypt and back to Lisbon. “Particularly attractive in the Relação are the pictures he draws of the peoples, manners and customs of the regions he traversed... And Godinho in his clear and incisive style, seasoned with cheerful humour and occasional irony, is entertainingly informative with his descriptions of Arab brigandage and hospitality, of Hindu customs and Muslim festivals. Though unswerving in his loyalty to his faith and country, he can both praise the character of the Persians and the hospitals of Aleppo, and condemn the rapacity and dishonesty of his own country.” -- Correia-Afonso, p. 12. Godinho returned to Lisbon entrusted with a secret mission from the Viceroy, Mello de Castro. Long an object of speculation, this was only recently revealed to be what had long been suspected, namely an urgent plea to the Portuguese King not to cede Bombay. (See Correia-Afonoso, p. 10). *Palau 103, 032; Heredia 2881; John Correia-Afonso, Intrepid Itinerant. Manuel Godinho and his Journey from India to Portugal in 1663 (1990).. 4to. in 8’s, (6) ff., 188 pp., including engraved arms of dedicatee on 2nd leaf signed Juan Battista. Bound in contemporary calf, covers a bit scratched, spine with raised bands, gilt fleurons and gilt morocco title label. Old ownership inscription on title, some minor spotting.
      [Bookseller: Martayan Lan, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2013-08-03           Check availability:      Biblio    

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