WALLIN, Georg August [Yrjö Aukusti]. Första Resa fran Cairo till Arabiska Öknen i April 1845. Fragment. Helsinki, [S. Baranovskij for] J. Simelius, 1853.
8vo. 20th-century marbled paper covered boards with gilt-stamped morocco label on front cover; pp. vii, 126, [2, blank], steel-engraved map at the end; paper a little toned, otherwise a very clean copy.
First edition of a great rarity. As a fluent Arabic speaker the Finnish Orientalist had met Sheikh Muhammad Ayyad al-Tantawi in St. Petersburg, where was told much about the region, before departing for the Middle East in 1843 and setting out on his expeditions from Cairo under the name of Abd al-Wali. 'In 1845, proceeding southeast across the wastelands of the Nafud Desert, he reached Ha'il then continued by force of circumstances southward to Medina and Mecca. From there he returned to Egypt … [He] moved eastwards from Wadi al-Araba, first touching upon the upper regions of Wadi Sirhan, then on to the oasis of Djuf ('Algawf') and crossed the central regions of Shammar, via Djobbah ('Gubbi'), the Great Nefud ('Nufood'), and Hail. Of Shammar and its inhabitants he provided the fullest account, unsurpassed by later travellers in its scholarly precision' (Howgego). He may have adopted Islam and visited Mecca in 1845. After his return he felt deeply uneasy within European culture and died unexpectedly at the age of 40 in Helsinki in 1852. Like Burckhardt he was one of the first who really tried to understand the tribal structure, ways of thinking and life of the Bodouins in Sinai, parts of Arabia and Palestine. - Of this Swedish book printed in Finland less than two dozen copies are known to exist, only one outside Europe.
Howgego W12; see Henze for the publication in the RGS of 1854; not in Gay or Ibrahim-Hilmy.
Provenance: Bookplate Johan Victor Procopé (1918-1998). He was a Finnish politician, parlamentarian and book collector.