FINE ORIGINAL BINDING
Die New Welt der landschaften vnd insulen.
Strasburg, Georg Ulricher, 1534.
FIRST EDITION thus. Folio. ff. (vi), 242 [i.e., 252] (some mispaginated). Gothic letter, double column. Ulricher’s attractive printer’s device on t-p and final leaf. Fine woodcuts of the Count of Hanau-Lichtenberg’s arms and a schema of the celestial orientation of the north pole, woodcut initials throughout. Generally light age browning and foxing, C16 annotation to one upper margin, small marginal hole and tear, the odd marginal thumb mark. A good, crisp, wide-margined copy in original C16 German blindstamped pigskin in ‘monastic binding’ over bevelled wooden boards (clasps lacking), triple fillet border, blind-tooled title, fleurons, small male and female figures and female heads in roundels, joints cracked, C16 ‘U.V.’ inked monogram on rear pastedown.
Very good, finely printed first edition of ‘Die New Welt’, an augmented German translation by Michael Herr of Grynaeus and Huttich’s successful ‘Novus orbis’, published in Basel in 1532. ‘Die New Welt’ reached out to a German-speaking audience passionate about recent geographical discoveries, and is rarer than its Latin source, which featured an additional woodcut map but less text. The first part is an original epitome of major expeditions to the four continents, drawn from early C16 sources. Featured texts include Cadamosto’s travels to the West coast of Africa, Columbus’s arrival to the New World, Vespucci’s sighting of the Antarctic Pole, Marco Polo’s expedition to China, Ludovico de Varthema’s journey to Malay, King Haithon’s travels to Mongolia, and Paolo Giovio’s account of Muscovy. There are abundant references to the mirabilia typical of travel writing, like Prester John, cannibals, curious animals, and mysterious food. The second part is devoted to writings by the Italian historian Peter Martyr. ‘De orbe novo’ is a collection of famous explorations of the New World—including Núñez de Balboa’s discovery of the Pacific Ocean—which Peter Martyr had gathered in the 1490s from official documents and conversations with explorers. ‘De legatione Babylonica’ recounts his travels to Egypt, and is followed by Erasmus Stella’s history of Prussia, which closes the volume.
This rare edition of ‘Die New Welt’, a fascinating compendium of early voyages of exploration, has been preserved in its attractive original binding over wooden boards, in excellent condition.
Harisse 188; Alden 534/20; VD 16; G 3830; Sabin 34106: ‘less known and much rarer than the original’; Brunet IV, 132; Graesse III, 165. Not in BM STC German.