VERKEN, Johann; HULSIUS, Levinus, ed.; ARTHUS, Gotthardt, trans.


VERKEN, Johann; HULSIUS, Levinus, ed.; ARTHUS, Gotthardt, trans Eylffter Schiffart ander Theil, […] von den Holl- und Seeländern in die Ost Indien.

Frankfurt-am-Main, E. Kempffer, 1613.


FIRST EDITION, first issue. 4to. pp. 167 (i) + 4 engraved plates. Gothic letter, with Roman, second part in double column. Charming engraved printer’s device with maritime scene to title, 4 half-page engraved plates (first and second facing pp.4 and 6 respectively), decorated initials and ornaments. Browning, heavier to plates. A good, clean copy in modern calf.

A good copy of the first enlarged edition (first issue) of this illustrated account in German of a voyage to the East Indies, under the command of Pieter Willemsz Verhuffen, made by the Dutch and Zealanders in 1607-12. This edition comprises the second section of Part XI – first published in 1612, with a narrative reaching to 1609 only – of Levinus Hulsius’s (d.1606) famous collection of voyages. These – the greatest voyages by European navigators – were published separately, in 26 parts, from 1598 to 1660, by Hulsius and his successors (e.g., Erasmus Kempffer, as here) in Nuremberg and Frankfurt. Despite the numerous similarities, Hulsius’s accounts are ‘more useful, more curious and much rarer than the famed Collection of De Bry’ (Asher, p.9).

This eleventh voyage is based on memoirs by Johann Verkens of Leipzig – ‘the first elaborate accounts of a German voyager to the Malaysian Archipelago, the first by a German VOC employee to be published’ (Mahdi, p.87) – translated into German by Gotthardt Arthus, who had provided a near-identical translation for Part IX of De Bry’s ‘Voyages’. It provides daily accounts of the voyagers’ meetings and battles in the Malaysian Archipelago, and occasionally Mauritius, especially with the Portuguese and the English. The handsome plates portray the siege of the town of Lebetacke, on the Banda Islands; a meeting between the Portuguese and Dutch, with European attacks against the native people; the siege of the city of Schlangen; and a marriage procession in Java. Half the work is devoted to German-Malay (pp.69-159) and German-Madagascan (pp.159-67) phrasebooks, absent in De Bry’s German translation. Divided into two columns, it provides Arthus’ German translation of Frederick de Houtman’s Dutch-Malay conversations, using simple common phrases rendered phonetically, of sundry conversations between hypothetical German and native speakers, concerning everyday subjects such as the arrival of a ship, the purchase of food, buying and selling generally, etc. Interestingly, ‘many Malayisms seem not to originate from direct discourse with indigenous speakers. Some were apparently features of the speech of the local (so-called ‘Indische’) Dutch community. Shared by German colleagues in daily discourse, the words found their way into the German language. Consequently, besides exhibiting some predictable German-specific phonological modifications, some Malayisms […] also exhibited particularities of assimilation into Dutch’ (Mahdi, p.124).

USTC 2134831; VD17 23:237388F; Church 298 (first ed., first issue); Alden 613/135; Sabin VIII, 33665; Brunet III, 370. W. Mahdi, Malay Words and Malay Things (2007); A. Asher, Bibliographical Essay on the Collection of Voyages and Travels (1839).