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DOUGHTY, Charles, & Ernest Renan.

Documents épigraphiques recueillis dans le nord de l'Arabie....

Notices et extraits des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Nationale … Tome vingt-neuvième.

Availability: In stock

Published: Paris Imprimerie Nationale, 1891

Stock Code: 93904

OR On display in 43 Dover Street


First edition, second issue, of the first publication in English of any account of Doughty's travels in Arabia, predating Travels in Arabia Deserta by four years, with a preface in French by Ernest Renan. In 1865 the German orientalist Theodor Nöldeke proposed that the Nabataean rock-carvings in what is now Jordan contained the origins of the Arabic script, a hypothesis for which "Doughty's book remains an invaluable mine of source material. He had the advantages of a slow pace, almost unlimited time, an amazingly observant eye, and, perhaps most of all, the compulsion to record without omissions every fact observed" (Tabachnick, ed., Explorations in Doughty's Arabia Deserta, p. 17). Doughty (1843-1926) arrived at Ma'an in May 1875, after a three-month camel journey through Sinai. There he heard of the Nabataean inscriptions at Mada'in Salih and nearby Hijr, and starting planning an expedition. Although he found that neither the British Association nor the Royal Geographical Society was willing to provide financial support, he spent a year studying Arabic and set out with the pilgrim caravan on 10 November 1876, wearing local dress and going by the name of Khalil. He planned only a brief stay in the region but ended up wandering in Arabian for nearly two years, his adventures including a stay with the Bedouin near Mada'in Salih, a visit to Mohammed ibn Rashid, ruler of northern Arabia, a period of imprisonment by a Turkish commandant at Khaybar, a series of dangerous episodes at Buraydah, 'Unayzah, and Mecca, a stay with the sharif of Mecca at Ta'if, and his final emergence at Jiddah on 2 August 1878. A preliminary report of Doughty's observations appeared in the periodical Globus, in German translatoin, in 1881. He first met the great French orientalist and writer Ernest Renan early in 1883, and it was in Paris, after the failure of an attempt to sell his copies of the inscriptions to the Royal Museum in Berlin, that Doughty's copies of the inscriptions at Mada'in Salih finally saw the light of day in 1884.

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Quarto (287 x 220 mm). Recent half calf to style, marbled boards, black morocco label, rules to spine in gilt and blind.


54 plates, the majority of them heliographs, 9 folding, 3 maps; with the half-title.


Mild damp-stain in the head margin affecting the first 20 pages or so, but largely excellent, unopened.


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