LITHGOW, William

LITHGOW, William The Totall Discourses of the rare Adventures, and painefull peregrinations of long nineteen yeares Travailes from Scotland to the most famous Kingdomes in Europe, Asia and Affrica

London, by I. Okes, 1640


4to., (in 8’s) pp.(xvi) 444, 447-514. (viii). [The catchword on p. 444 doesn’t match the first word of p. 447, but text is continuous.] [A-2K , 2L .] Roman letter, some Italic. Large woodcut frontispiece depicting the author in Turkish robes, repeated in text, six further 3/4-page woodcut illustrations including a particularly fine view of the city of Fez, typographical headpieces and ornaments, woodcut initials, C18th engraved armorial book of John Oglander (warden of New College Oxford 1776), C19 bookplate of Jacobi Lyle on verso of fly, bookseller’s description (1931) pasted to recto. Light age yellowing, original paper flaw in outer margin of Gg6 just touching the woodcut, head of title and frontispiece and their conjugate leaves A7-8, slightly soiled in upper margin. A very good copy in C18th English calf, covers triple gilt ruled to a panel design, large fleurons gilt to outer corners, spine with raised bands, C19th reback, richly gilt in compartments, tan morocco label gilt edges blind ruled, a.e.r.

First printed in 1614, this is only the second edition of the complete text which was first published in 1632; the earlier editions are of a much smaller work. Lithgow’s (1582-1645) principal oeuvre – the extraordinary story of his 19 years’ adventurous wanderings throughout the whole of Europe, and much of North Africa and the near East; Rome, Venice, Dalmatia (including notes on Scanderbeg), Corfu, Greece, Crete, Constantinople, Rhodes, Cyprus, the Euphrates, Tripoli, Damascus, Smyrna, The Holy Land, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Malta, Sicily, Calabria, Tunis, Algiers, Austria, Hungary, Transylvania, Poland, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Scotland and the northern isles – all are extensively described together with the author’s exploits and sufferings. “it is a book of uncommon value and interest for its description of men and manners even more than of places. Thus, it is probably the earliest authority for coffee drinking in Europe, Turkish baths, a pigeon post between Aleppo and Bagdad, the long Turkish tobacco pipes, artificial incubation and the importation (since about 1550) of currants from Zante to England,” D.N.B.

“This expanded version includes descriptions of Lithgow’s three major journeys, two of which were to Islamic lands and empires, … Proceeding mostly in the itinerary format – a traditional mode of travel writing – the text follows Lithgow’s footsteps in a methodical manner through his tirades against and regular encounters with Jews, Jesuits, Greek orthodox and other Eastern Christians. Islam and Muslims present a major focus of the book, encountered both briefly and from afar, such as in hostile and threatening encounters with Turkish galleys and Moorish corsairs, and more intimately and at leisure, as at civilised dinners with well-known former compatriot renegades, Christian-cudgelling janissaries, and caravan companions with the propensity for tobacco consumption. …. Lithgow’s literary journeys began in 1609, when for three years he travelled through France via Paris, to Rome and Loretto, expressing his opinions on the catholic faith, rituals and relics on the way. After praising Venice for his beauty and magnificence he sailed down the Dalmatian coast towards the Ottoman empire, encountering Moorish corsairs on the way. He arrived in Constantinople, .. (and continued) his journey continued towards Syria, via Aleppo, and Damascus, where he joined a caravan of Christian pilgrims on the way through Galilee to Jerusalem, arriving on Palm Sunday in 1612. After visiting the holy places in and around Jerusalem, he departed from Cairo with a group of German Protestant merchants, who all died on the journey. In Cairo, Lithgow was amazed by the multiplicity of its inhabitants. He then embarked on our return journey from Alexandria via Malta and Sicily and the overland route through France. Lithgow’s second major journey started in 1613, taking him through warring Europe to Italy and North Africa, where he visited Algiers and Fez.. (his) third journey started in 1619 with a visit to Ireland, aiming for the lands of Prester John through Portugal and Spain, but he was arrested as a spy in Malaga. He later gave an account of his torture at the hands of the local Inquisition.” David Thomas. ‘Christian-Muslim Relations. A Bibliographical History.’

ESTC S108592. STC 15714. Lowndes 1370. JFB L 369. (1632 ed.) Alden 640/116. Arents (Add) 219.
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