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129968
PRZHEVALSKY, Nikolay Mikhailovich.

[Cyrillic title:] Puteshestviye v Ussuriyskom Kraye, 1867-1869 gg. S kartoy Ussuriyskogo Kraya (A Trip in the Ussuri Region 1867-1869).

Availability: In stock

Published: St Petersburg N. Neklyudova, 1870

Stock Code: 129968

£6,500
OR On display in 100 Fulham Road

Notes

First edition of the first comprehensive description of the Ussuri region and Przhevalsky's first book, published at his own expense; very scarce, we have been able to trace one institutional location only, the incomplete copy at the Russian Presidential Library (lacking title page).

Przhevalsky (1839-1888) passed through the military academy at St Petersburg and was commissioned as an officer in 1856, but "feeling the inadequacy of his training entered the academy of the General Staff and in 1864-67 taught history and geography at a military school in Warsaw" (Howgego). In 1867 he was transferred to Irkutsk in eastern Siberia but en route stopped off at St Petersburg and proposed an ambitious scheme for the exploration of Inner Asia to the head of the department of physical geography at the Imperial Russian Geographical Society, P. P. Semenov. This scheme was turned down but Semenov suggested that Przhevalsky "test himself in the field first by exploring some uncharted territory in East Siberia and present the results to the Society" (Andreyev et al). Armed with letters of recommendation, "a shotgun and some books about East Siberia, particularly the Amur Ussuri region he intended to explore" (ibid.), Przhevalsky and his team were given the task of updating the route map of the Ussuri region and surveying part of the Lake Khanka basin. "The results of the expedition were, in fact, more substantial than might be expected from a pure reconnaissance survey" (Speake) and included the mapping of the eastern slopes of the Sikhote-Alin mountain range, descriptions of the castor aralia tree (Kalopanax septemlobus) and the elusive black hare, along with details of geography, climate, ethnographical remarks on native inhabitants, agriculture, industry and trade. His account garnered the Imperial Russian Geographical Society's silver medal and "was very well received in educated Russian circles, and served as his passport to the active support of the Imperial Russian Geographical Society, which sponsored his second (Mongolian) expedition" (ibid.).

Przhevalsky was one of the great Russian explorers of Central and East Asia, "a formidable influence on Russia's Asian strategy" whose "exploits filled the popular press No Asian explorer traversed more territory than he did on four major expeditions" (Meyer & Brysac).

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Description

Octavo. Late 19th century library binding of brown linen.

Illustrations

Folding chromolithograph map of the Ussuri region up to the Chinese and Korean borders, outlining Przhevalsky's route and showing towns, Russian, Cossack and Chinese villages, military posts, and telegraph stations.

Condition

A little rubbed, Russian library label to front cover, folding map neatly reattached at the rear, peripheral toning to letterpress, some neat marginal pencillings. A very good copy.

Delivery

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