CURZON, Robert, 14th Baron de la Zouche. Visits to Monasteries of the Levant.

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CURZON, Robert, 14th Baron de la Zouche. Visits to Monasteries of the Levant. London, William Clowes and Sons, Limited for George Newnes, 1897.

8vo. Original orange cloth, boards blocked in black and relief with a floral pattern, spine lettered in gilt and decorated in black, top edge gilt; pp. xxiv, 306, [2], title printed in red and black, woodcut frontispiece, text illustrations including 2 full-page maps and 2 pages of music; apart from fading to spine, and light rubbing to extremities, a good copy.
Robert Curzon (1810-1873) travelled to "Egypt and the Holy Land in 1833-4, on a tour of research among the monastery libraries, gathering many valuable manuscripts. He returned to England in 1834, before setting out on a second tour in 1837-8, when he visited Mount Athos and bought five manuscripts from several monasteries there, before making further purchases in Egypt. His experiences are recorded in his Visit to the Monasteries in the Levant (1849). It immediately gained popularity, running to six editions by 1881. From a scientific point of view, also, these revelations of monastic treasures were of great importance, and it was Curzon's experience that set others on the track which led to the acquisition of the magnificent collection of Nitrian manuscripts by the British Museum. Curzon has subsequently been criticized for removing the manuscripts to Britain, but it seems certain that many owe their preservation to the removal" (ODNB). This edition was issued by Newnes as part of The New Library series, prefaced with the statement that "his account [...] acquires additional interest from the fact that it describes manners and customs of the East, which in recent years have been considerably modified. The levelling effect of intercourse with Europeans has now partially effaced the old characteristics of Asiatic Life" (p. vii).