[a handsome copy] Translated from the French. With Numerous Illustrations. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Low, & Searle, 1873. 32 pp ads dated October 1872. Original green cloth pictorially decorated in black and gilt, beveled, all edges gilt.
First British Edition, also the first edition in the English language.
Three Englishmen... and three Russians... and their guide, a bushman named Mokoum, set out to measure the arc of a meridian in the Kalahari Desert of South Africa. Everything is going well, until war is declared between England and Russia. [Kytasaari]
This tale was initially published in the original French in 1872, as AVENTURES DE TROIS RUSSES ET DE TROIS ANGLAIS DANS L'AFRIQUE AUSTRALE. Sampson Low's English edition, titled MERIDIANA (with the subtitle's nationalities reversed in favor of the Englishmen), was issued in November 1872 but was dated 1873 (as here). In the same month, some of these copies (printed and bound in England) were exported to the U.S. and equipped with the title page of Scribner's import house, Scribner, Welford and Armstrong (likewise dated 1873) -- technically the American issue of the first English edition, and extremely scarce today. Scribner Armstrong (sans Welford) then published the first edition actually produced in America; there was also an unauthorized American edition by Shepard, titled ADVENTURES IN THE LAND OF THE BEHEMOTH, with an altered translation and fewer illustrations, published on the very same day.
This edition has one of the great Verne pictorial bindings: a phalanx of crocodiles hungrily approaches an oblivious man holding a parasol. This copy is in green cloth (one of several colors used, without priority), and has an ad catalogue dated October 1872 -- which we think is the earliest date (we have also seen October 1873). The volume is just a little askew (as always) and a few gatherings stand slightly proud, but this is a fine, bright copy, without any restoration or "improvement" of any kind. An early Verne edition that is quite scarce in this condition. Taves & Michaluk V009; Myers 39. Item #14373