STANLEY, Arthur Penrhyn. Sinai and Palestine in Connection with their History … New Edition. London, John Murray, 1883.
8vo. Contemporary dark blue three-quarter morocco over marbled boards, ruled in gilt, top edge gilt; pp. lviii, 569, seven colour-printed lithographic maps (including an elevation section, a few folding), a few illustrations in the text; light rubbing to binding, a very good copy of the virtually unchanged fifth edition of this classic; four very good photogravure postcards of Gaza and surroundings of about 1910 loosely inserted.
The author was a progressive and erudite dean in the middle of the 19th century with many liberal contacts. 'Stanley was able to make an extended tour of Egypt and the Holy Land in 1852 and 1853. Starting from Cairo he and his companions sailed up the Nile, which he found intolerably dull, but the great granite statues of Rameses and two other pharaohs at Thebes impressed him. They went as far south as Abu Simbel, but turned back to Cairo, climbed the pyramids, and then set out on camels for the Sinai peninsula, at that time visited only by the most intrepid of European travellers. In the monastery of St Catherine at the foot of Mount Sinai they found the great German scholar Tischendorf, who on a previous visit had discovered there an important biblical manuscript, the Codex Sinaiticus. After moving on to the Gulf of ‘Aqabah, they turned up the defile that led to Petra, which Stanley pronounced to be a city not of bright colours, but of dull crimson, indigo, yellow, and purple. They reached Jerusalem on Easter eve 1853, from where they made expeditions to Nazareth, Damascus, Jericho, and the Dead Sea. The tour led to the publication of Sinai and Palestine in March 1856, Stanley's powers of observation and description, together with the unfamiliarity of the places that he had visited, making the book an instant success. It reached a fourth edition within a year, and as late as 1881 was still being reprinted' (ODNB).