Stephens, John L. and Frederick Catherwood.
Incidents of Travel in Yucatan
Seller ID: 1401
London: John Murray, 1843.Later edition (pp. i-iv [v-viii] ix-xii), 459; xvi, 478, adverts). Octavo (23cm) in brown publisher's cloth , gilt titles and decorations; skilfully rebacked preserving most of the spines. Illustrated with 120 engravings, including folding frontispieces depicting principal buildings at Uxmal and Labna, folding map of Yucatan, and various Maya sites and artefacts throughout the region by the architect and antiquarian Frederick Catherwood. Stephens was fortunate to have 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 established a readership for his travel writing having published an account of his travels into Egypt and the Middle East and into eastern Europe. In their first book Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan (1841), Stephens and Catherwood opened the door to investigations of Mayan culture through which many subsequently have passed. Here in their explorations of sites in the Yucatan which they had heard concealed in its jungles 'numerous and extensive cities, desolate and in ruins', they pick up their journey which illness has forced them to abandon. 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 daguerreotype process (The climate proved inhospitable). 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. Octavo, brown publisher's cloth (minor loss top and bottom of spine), gilt titles and decoration, bookplates, unobtrusive library stamp to title pages; tissue guards; solid, tight binding. An ex-libris copy but for all of that, quite good.
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