'one of the earliest and best-selling american travel books on egypt'
[STEPHENS, John Lloyd]. Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia Petraea, and the Holy Land. By an American … Tenth Edition, with Additions. New York, Harper, 1840.
Two volumes, small 8vo. Original publisher's maroon textured cloth, spines lettered in gilt; pp. v, [1, blank], [v]-vii, [1, blank], -240; v, [1, blank], -286, two engraved frontispieces, one engraved folding map and 11 outline-engraved plates; extremities a little worn; brown-spotting, as usual with this title; provenance: later stamp of the Dora Fairchild Van Rensellaer Brinsmade Library.
Early edition of a very successful and rare work in the publisher's binding. The American traveller and writer John Lloyd Stephens (1805-1852) graduated from Columbia University in 1822 and then studied at James Gould's law school in Litchfield, CT, following which he practised as a lawyer in New York for eight years. 'The law bored him, however, and when in 1834 his doctor suggested a sea voyage as a cure for an affection of the throat, he gladly followed the prescription and and spent the next two years seeking the unusual in the Mediterranean and in eastern Europe. Some of his letters, appearing in Hoffmann's American Monthly Magazine, were so well received that in 1837 he published Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia Petraea, and the Holy Land in two volumes; this was followed by Incidents of Travel in Greece, Turkey, Russia, and Poland (1838). He was a born raconteur, had a zest for for exploring the unusual, and wrote "with a quick and keen observation, an appreciative and good-natured sense of the ludicrous, and a remarkable facility of retaining vividly to the last the freshness of first impressions" [...] Overnight, he became known as the American traveler' (DAB). Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia Petraea, and the Holy Land was 'one of the earliest and best-selling American travel books on Egypt' (Kalfatovic), and the DAB states that in the fifteen years between the book's publication and Stephens' death some 21,000 copies had been published. Following the first American edition of 1837, an English edition was published in 1838, and further editions appeared in 1838 and 1839, before this nicely illustrated edition was published in 1840. A well-written travelogue of visits of the Levant, Egypt and the Transjordan region. Stephens tells of his journeys and encounters in Alexandria, Cairo, Thebes, Karnak, Sinai, Petra, Gaza, Hebron, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Nazareth, Tyre etc. On the shores of the Dead Sea he possibly had the worst coffee.'Made coffee with Water of the Dead Sea & for the first time hoisted Sail' (plate opposite p. 213 in volume II).
See Ibrahim-Hilmy II, p.259 (New York: 1837 ed.); Kalfatovic 0342b (New York: 1838 ed.).