BURCKHARDT, John Lewis. Notes on the Bedouins and Wahábys, collected during his Travels in the East. Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, 1831.
Two volumes, 8vo. Contemporary full calf with raised bands, spines decorated in gilt and each volume with two morocco letterig-pieces, boards with single gilt fillets, marbled edges and endpapers (hinges expertly restored); pp. [iii]-ix, [1, Corrigenda], 382; iv, 391, [1, advertisement]; engraved folding frontispiece map; offsetting to title from this, bound without half-title (no half-title issued for volume II), else a near-fine copy.
Second edition (first in one 4to volume, the year before). Burckhardt was born in Switzerland and came to England to take part in the African Association’s exploratory work, notably the search for the sources of the Niger. With this in mind, Burckhardt set off in January 1809 and as a prelude spent 3 years in Aleppo studying Arabic, interspersed with journeys to Palmyra, Damascus and elsewhere. In September 1812, he reached Cairo, where he planned to join a caravan to Fezzan and begin his search for the Niger sources. In the time spent waiting for a suitable opportunity, he travelled up the Nile valley to the northern frontier of Dongola, crossing from there and retracing James Bruce’s steps through Abyssinia to Suakim on the coast. He crossed from there to Jedda and used the occasion to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, the first European and Christian to do so. In June 1815 Burckhardt returned to Cairo and visited Suez and Sinai, undertaking excavations with Belzoni. He subsequently contracted dysentery and died in 1817 before he had ever begun any Niger explorations. Notes on the Bedouins and Wahábys was the fourth volume of Burckhardt's works to be published posthumously. It contains an account of the Bedouin and in its second part provides Materials for a history of the Wahábys, based on original information, both written and oral. Burckhardt's journals contain detailed accounts of the Arabian Peninsula and the ruins of the Middle East, which he visited successfully disguised as a Muslim and using the name Sheikh Ibrahim Ibn Abdallah. 'Ce volume comprend des temoignages precieux sur la culture materielle, la religion, les structures familiales, les fetes, la musique et les recits traditionnels de ce peuple' (Catalogue of the Burckhardt exhibition, Zurich, Pro Helvetia, 1984).