The Worst Journey in The World.
Antarctic, 1910-1913.London: Published by the Author and distributed for him by Chatto & Windus, 1951 Stock Code: 142508
"Know yourself: accept yourself: be yourself. That seems a good rule. But which self? Even the simplest of us are complicated enough" - a superb association copy of the finest polar book ever writtenPersonally published by Cherry-Garrard, this is the first edition to include the retrospective Postscript written in 1948. This copy has a poignant association, being inscribed on the front free endpaper, "To Mrs. Reynell in gratitude, 1947 to 1951 from Apsley Cherry-Garrard, October 25th 1951". The recipient was Una Mary, widow of Rupert Reynell, the brilliant Australian-born psychiatrist who had managed to coax Cherry-Garrard out of his cataleptic collapse of 1946, giving him what his wife Angela described as "the happiest six years of his life", but who had tragically died in 1948.
Cherry-Garrard's account of the Terra Nova expedition of 1910-13 "has often been referred to as the finest polar book ever written. Scott's diary left many facets of the expedition and the experiences of its men untold: it was Cherry-Garrard who pulled the entire story of the main party together. He was uniquely suited to do so. He was a member of the main party for the expedition's entire duration, had access to unpublished sources, and was the only member of the Winter Journey to survive the expedition. Most of all, he had the sensibilities and extraordinary literary genius necessary to cope with the complex and tragic subject of the Polar Journey" (Rosove). Cherry-Garrard was deeply affected by his failure to save the Scott party, living a "long life of melancholy regret" (Books on Ice), struggling with the long-term cumulative effects of what might now be recognised as PTSD.
His profound reflections on his own motivations, and their complex ramifications in the context of a joint enterprise such as Scott's expedition, find some expression in the postscript that he wrote for this edition, a publication that he personally commissioned during the period of remission between his breakdown in 1946 and his relapse into silence, an understanding of his condition based in his therapeutic and personal relationship with Rupert Reynell: "Know yourself: accept yourself: be yourself. That seems a good rule. But which self? Even the simplest of us are complicated enough Why do some human beings desire with such urgency to do such things: regardless of the consequences, voluntarily, conscripted by no one but themselves? No one knows. There is a strange urge to conquer the dreadful forces of nature, and perhaps to get consciousness of ourselves, of life, and of the shadowy workings of our human minds. Physical capacity is the only limit. I have tried to tell how, and when, and where? But why? That is a mystery".
Octavo. Original mid-blue buckram, title gilt to the spine, with the pictorial dust jacket.
Coloured frontispiece and 8 monochrome plates, 4 maps, 2 of them folding.
Largely unopened, pale toning to the text-block, unclipped jacket just a little rubbed and with minor chipping, one piece lacking from the front panel costing a couple of letters from the main title, very good indeed.
Spence 286; Taurus 84.
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