The Travels of Marco Polo: A Venetian, in the Thirteenth Century: being a Description, by that early Traveller of Remarkable Places and Things in the Eastern Part of the World. Translated from the Italian, with Notes, by William Marsden. MARCO POLO, William MARSDEN.
The Travels of Marco Polo: A Venetian, in the Thirteenth Century: being a Description, by that early Traveller of Remarkable Places and Things in the Eastern Part of the World. Translated from the Italian, with Notes, by William Marsden.

The Travels of Marco Polo: A Venetian, in the Thirteenth Century…
The Travels of Marco Polo: A Venetian, in the Thirteenth Century: being a Description, by that early Traveller of Remarkable Places and Things in the Eastern Part of the World. Translated from the Italian, with Notes, by William Marsden.

London: printed for the author by Cox and Bayliss, 1818.

Quarto, with a large folding map; an excellent copy in full calf, gilt.

The first separately published English translation of Marco Polo since 1579

Important English edition of the work of Marco Polo, the most famous travel book every written and the first to open Central Asia and China to the West. This translation by Marsden was preceded as a separate edition only by the Frampton version of 1579, that early edition so rare that STC records only 3 copies held in the USA and 3 in England.

Important English edition of the work of Marco Polo, the most famous travel book every written and the first to open Central Asia and China to the West. This translation by Marsden was preceded as a separate edition only by the Frampton version of 1579, that early edition so rare that STC records only 3 copies held in the USA and 3 in England.

Marco Polo (1254-1324), most celebrated of all early travellers, was the inspiration for all future explorers towards the east. His reports of his travels, factual and embroidered provided Europeans with not only their first account of China, but with a new standard in travelogue. His account was a unique compilation of hard fact, hearsay and legend covering history, politics and accounts of territories hitherto uncharted by the west. This superb translation of Marco Polo's travels by the respected scholar William Marsden brings to life one of the best known of all travel accounts and is particularly valuable for its copious notes, expert commentary and comprehensive index.

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Marco Polo's groundbreaking journey across the Silk Road notably includes his encounter with the much-feared Genghis Khan. "So extraordinary was that Empire, and so vivid Polo's recount of the many lands and diverse peoples, religions and cultures, apart from his cataloguing of governance and trade, that his Travels met with doubt and skepticism for centuries. Until today, that is, when 200 years of scholarly research and scrupulous revisions of the several principal texts have substantiated most of his revelations" (California Literary Review).

Marco Polo had originally dictated the story of his travels to an acquaintance, Rusticiano, whilst he was being held prisoner in Genoa in 1299, following a naval defeat. His work was largely unknown in his lifetime, and first appeared in print in 1477 in Nuremberg, almost two hundred years after it was written. Subsequent editions of Polo's work were the source of various misprints and typographical errors, which were perpetuated for centuries, and which laid the foundation for speculation about the existence of a great continent to the south. The appearance of a promontory named "Beach" that appears on the earliest maps in the vicinity of northern Australia, stems from Polo's term "Locac", which may describe Thailand. In Ramusio's edition of Polo, the term became "Lochac", and in the Basle edition, the term was further corrupted to "Beach". This name was then used by late sixteenth-century and early seventeenth-century cartographers to describe the northernmost coastline of "Terra Australis".

The translator, William Marsden, known too for his "History of Sumatra" joined the East India Company at Bencoolen as a writer in 1771, at the age of 17. He later became First Secretary to the Admiralty and Vice-President of the Royal Asiatic Society. He was a great collector of coins and books; his coins are now in the British Museum, his library at King's College. He based this English translation on the Italian edition of Zurla's version of Marco Polo's travels. Zurla, Cardinal Vicar of Rome was an influential writer on medieval geography.

This edition is scarce.

Provenance: With the bookplate of the English writer and antiquary Francis Frederick Fox (1833-1915)

Price (AUD): $12,500.00  other currencies Ref: #4505152

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