Travels in Arabia Deserta. TWO VOLUMES.

Doughty, Charles.

Book ID: 631


8vo. xx, 623 pp., 48 pp., of publisher’s catalogue, 8 b/w plates of which 5 are folding, numerous illustrations in text / xiv, 690 pp., loose b/w plate, 1 colour lithographed folding map loose at rear, later cloth, lightly rubbed round edges, gilt stamped title to spine, index, glossary, half-title to volume 1 only, strengthened at joint, tear across 1 folding plate without any loss, ex-library with label remnants to front pastedown and usual stamps, occasional marginal soiling, Cambridge University Press, first edition, 1888.


Classic work on the exploration of Arabia with so much information on the topography of the area that it was used as a text-book by the British army during the Arab Revolt. There are also detailed descriptions of the Bedouin tribes and their customs.
The book was held in high esteem by T. E. Lawrence, who carried a copy at all times. Although the original edition was immediately accepted as of great value to Arabian studies and an epic story of a great feat, it was not until later editions appeared that “a new generation of readers accepted it as a classic of travel. “Dictionary of National Biography.
One of the rare works of exploration that is also a literary masterpiece written in a magnificent style. At a later time Doughty was asked how he managed to declare his identity as an Englishman and to keep such a detailed journal during his nomadic wanderings, He replied: ” I did nothing covertly: thus I was able, A son of the way, to pass forth with an honourable reputation and the good of many, and finding always some helpful friends: to reach at length a happy ending of my travaillous voyage in Arabia”.
First edition. – Doughty disapproved of Victorian style, and mingled his own with Chaucerian and Elizabethan English and Arabic. But whatever the style, the result is perhaps the finest book on Arabia ever written. T. E. Lawrence remarks in the introduction: “I have talked the book over with many travellers, and we are agreed that here you have all the desert, its hills and plains, the lava fields, the villages, the tents, the men and animals. They are told of to the life, with words and phrases fitted to them so perfectly that one cannot dissociate them in memory. It is the true Arabia, the land with its smells and dirt, as well as its nobility and freedom. There is no sentiment, nothing merely picturesque, that most common failing of oriental travel-books. Doughty’s completeness is devastating. There is nothing we would take away, little we could add. He took all Arabia for his province, and has left to his successors only the poor part of specialists. We may write books on parts of the desert or some of the history of it; but there can never be another picture of the whole, in our time, because here it is all said.” One of the great classics of Arabia Travel. Bibliographic references: Henze II, 88 (1888 first edition), Howgego III, D29. OCLC 6443964cf, Macro. Bibliography of the Arabian Peninsula, 859, Weber I, 1092 (1924 edition).

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