Stephens, John L.
Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan
Seller ID: 996
London: John Murray, 1841. First British edition, in two volumes (ix, 424; x, 474); seventy-eight engravings (one additional) by the architect and antiquarian Frederick Catherwood and a folding map of the territory. Stephens was fortunate in having Catherwood as his friend, traveling companion, and illustrator; his precise, expressive engravings of stelae, palace figures, and decorative objects found at the newly uncovered Mayan cities in Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico attest to the truth of the cliche about how many words a picture is worth. Stephens himself was a writer of relaxed yet vivid prose and had already established a readership for his travel writing having published an account of his travels into Egypt and the Middle East and into eastern Europe. Octavo, brown publisher's cloth (minor loss top and bottom of spine, edges lightly worn, a few blotches back cover), gilt titles and decoration, bookplates removed; tissue guards throughout, lightly and sporadically foxed; solid, tight binding. Apparently Stephens' agreement with his American publisher stipulated Harper & Bros. was to furnish cheaply a number of copies which Stephens then sent to Murray in London where the book appeared under that imprint. This is one of those copies. For an interesting sidelight on the expedition, see Peter Harris' "Co-incidents of Travel in Yucatan" (photoarts.com) which discusses the expedition's experiments with the newly developed daguerrotype process (The climate proved inhospitable). An excellent copy indeed.
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