Item #5000320 Souvenirs d'un Aveugle. Voyage autour du monde. [with final volume:] Chasses-Drame…. FREYCINET, Jacques ARAGO.
Souvenirs d'un Aveugle. Voyage autour du monde. [with final volume:] Chasses-Drame…
Souvenirs d'un Aveugle. Voyage autour du monde. [with final volume:] Chasses-Drame…
Souvenirs d'un Aveugle. Voyage autour du monde. [with final volume:] Chasses-Drame…

Souvenirs d'un Aveugle. Voyage autour du monde. [with final volume:] Chasses-Drame…

Paris: Hortet et Ozanne [& vol. 5 H.-L. Delloye], 1839-1840.

Five volumes, octavo, with a portrait and 59 lithographic plates (a few folding) in the first four volumes and 15 plates in the fifth volume; handsome contemporary French romantique binding of quarter red morocco, flat spines ornately decorated in gilt.

Arago's wonderful narrative of the Freycinet voyage, in its fullest form

A really attractive set. This substantially changed version of Arago's classic account of the French circumnavigation in the Uranie under the command of Louis de Freycinet is 'often incorrectly described as a later edition of Arago's Promenade… it is actually a different, more elaborate work…' (Hill). Arago was the official artist on the expedition, which spent considerable time in Hawaii as well as New South Wales and Western Australia; the plates here, all after Arago's own drawings made during the voyage, are especially interesting for western Australia, New South Wales, Hawaii and the islands of Micronesia.

A really attractive set. This substantially changed version of Arago's classic account of the French circumnavigation in the Uranie under the command of Louis de Freycinet is 'often incorrectly described as a later edition of Arago's Promenade… it is actually a different, more elaborate work…' (Hill). Arago was the official artist on the expedition, which spent considerable time in Hawaii as well as New South Wales and Western Australia; the plates here, all after Arago's own drawings made during the voyage, are especially interesting for western Australia, New South Wales, Hawaii and the islands of Micronesia.

The eccentricity of both illustrations and narrative in Arago's account made it very popular, and it was of course within the budget of the normal reader (whereas the official narrative in its long series of volumes cost about a hundred times more).

Much of the fourth volume deals with the expedition's visit to New South Wales, and there are nine fine lithographs of Aborigines, including detailed studies of hunting, rituals and bush dwellings. The visit to western Australia is dealt with in the first volume, with further illustrations. The major part of the third volume deals with Hawaii and is also extensively illustrated. The Hawaiian visit was made at a time crucial to the history of the islands, and some of the portraits and depictions of native customs are of considerable importance.

This set also includes the scarce fifth supplementary volume devoted to hunting. Entitled Chasses - Drame, this is a selection of further reminiscences that had not appeared in other versions. Complete with 15 plates, it shares the format and design of the first four volumes yet bears a different publisher's imprint (H.-L. Delloye). It contains descriptions of hunting experiences during the voyage, including a 14-page description of a kangaroo hunt in New South Wales. The scarcity of this volume is reflected by the fact it was not described by either of the careful bibliographers Ferguson (on Australia) or Forbes (on Hawaii).

Arago was one of four famous brothers, three of whom were respected authors and artists (the fourth was a general). He sailed as artist on Louis de Freycinet's 1817 voyage around the world on the Uranie, and on his return devoted the rest of his life to writing about the voyage, and writing for the theatre. His account of the voyage is very different to the huge official narrative, giving a highly readable and very personal, whimsical and humorous description of events and people. As he noted in the English version (Narrative of a Voyage, 1823) he set out to avoid the conventional forms of the voyage narrative and to ignore the 'eternal repetition of winds, currents, longitude and lattitude'. By the time this version of his book reached the public, its remarkable author and artist had lost his sight: hence the new title used for the work of Souvenirs d'un aveugle. In his moving opening note Arago observes that 'n'avoir rien vu, c'est n'avoir rien à regretter. On ne perd réellement qu'après avoir possédé… et j'ai tant perdu!'.

This copy, from the famous library put together by Henry L. White, has a small leaf pasted in at the start with an earlier presentation inscription in Arago's hand to 'Monsieur Wollstonecraft, à Sydney, par son dévoué serviteur et ami, Je. Arago'. Edward Wollstonecraft, merchant and landowner, was a senior figure in Sydney at the time of the Freycient expedition's visit, and evidently Arago got to know him well then.

Provenance: Henry L. White (with his Belltrees bookplate and shelfmarks); private collection (Sydney).

Ferguson, 2689a; Forbes, 'Hawaiian National Bibliography', 1134; Hill, 30.

Condition Report: A fine set.

Price (AUD): $6,800.00

US$4,552.21   Other currencies

Ref: #5000320

Condition Report