A Voyage of Exploration and Discovery in Central Africa. With Sixty-Four Illustrations by Riou. Second Edition. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Low, & Searle, 1874. 48 pp ads dated Oct 1873. Original green cloth pictorially decorated in black and gilt, beveled, all edges gilt.
First Sampson Low edition (and second British edition) of Verne's first book, a fantasy of balloon travel over the African Continent and a satire on English books on African travel.~This tale first came out in French in 1863, with eighty illustrations by Riou. The first edition in English was by Appleton of New York, in 1869; this included only six of the illustrations and was bound in rather plain pebbled cloth. The first British edition was in 1870, by Chapman & Hall -- a different translation, with 64 Riou illustrations; this edition is now virtually impossible to find. In late 1873, James Osgood of Boston came out with the first fully-illustrated American edition (48 illustrations, but four to a plate). Then in 1874 Sampson Low, having become the leading British publisher of Verne's works (with such titles as TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEAS and AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS), published this edition of Verne's first book. (It was a courteous gesture for Sampson Low to print "Second Edition" on the title page, since the first edition had been issued by a competing publisher.) The pictorial binding shows in gilt the balloon Victoria on the spine and on the front cover; in the latter place the balloon is imaginatively shown a second time as a semi-transparent reflection on the clouds.~This is a very good copy. The green cloth is a bit worn at the fore-corners, and less-so at the spine ends; the original delicate peach endpapers are cracking, but the volume remains tight. This is not at all a bad copy -- fairly bright, and with no foxing at all on the magnificent full-page plates -- of an uncommon edition; both the 1869 Appleton edition and the 1873 Osgood edition are considerably easier to find than this first Sampson Low edition. Taves & Michaluk V001. Item #12256