Paris: J. Hetzel, circa 1868.
A large-format edition with dramatic illustrations by Edward Riou who collaborated with Jules Verne for six of his novels.
This racing tale of adventure is set against the backdrop of Pacific exploration and discovery. Much of the action takes place in Australia, especially Victoria. There are adventures with the locals, bushrangers, and explorers (including a version of the death of Burke). A continent where the animals are strange:
“…où les quadrupeds ont des becs, comme l’échidne et l’ornithrhynque, et ont oblige les naturalistes a créer specialement pour eux la genre monothrèmes; ou le kangouroo bondit sur ses pattes inégales; ou les moutons ont des têtes de porc; où les renards voltigent d’arbre en arbre; où les cygnes sont noirs…oh contrée bizarre, illogique, s’il en fut jamais, terre paradoxale et formée contre nature…Australie, sorte de parodie des lois universelles, où de défi plutôt, jeté à la face du reste du monde” [p.300]
[“…where the quadrupeds have beaks, like the echidna and the platypus, which have obliged the naturalists to create an order of monotremes especially for them; where the kangaroo leaps on its uneven legs; where the sheep have pig’s heads; where foxes fly from tree to tree; where the swans are black…oh strange, illogical country, if ever there was, paradoxical earth and shaped against nature…Australia, a kind of parody of universal laws, or of a challenge rather, thrown in the face of rest of the world”]
The third and final part which is set in New Zealand was later reissued under the title “Among the Cannibals”. Indeed, this section is largely based on published Pacific voyage accounts; it includes a scene of Captain Cook’s first landing on 6 October 1769, as well as a brief synopsis of the main voyages to New Zealand, including mention, for example, of the loss of the cutter from the Adventure during Cook’s second voyage, at Grass Cove.
Bibliography: Muir, 7726 (variant binding); not in Ferguson.
Quarto, engraved frontispiece and title-page vignette, generously illustrated throughout; a bright copy in original gilt tooled scarlet cloth, all edges gilt.
Price (AUD): $1,680.00 other currencies