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Authoritative but fictional travel account, including adventures at the young colony of Georgia

[PRÉVOST D'EXILES, Antoine François].
Voyages du Capitaine Robert Lade en differentes parties de l'Afrique, de l'Asie et de l'Amerique: contenant l'histoire de la fortune, & les observations sur les colonies & le commerce des Espagnols, des Anglois, des Hollandois, &c. Ouvrage traduit de l'Anglois.
Paris, Claude Simon for François Didot, 1744. 2 volumes. 12mo. With two folding engraved maps by F. Desbruslins after Jacques-Nicolas Bellin, showing the American Atlantic coast and the route of the journey. Contemporary mottled calf, richly gold-tooled spine. [1], [1 blank], XVI, 370; [1], [1 blank], 400 pp.
€ 1,800
First edition of a fictional account of travels through Africa, Asia and the Americas. It describes the travels of its supposed author, an English mariner called Robert Lade, in his quest for profit and adventure. Along the way, Lade meets several nonfictional mariners and the book even contains a pastiche of the story of Alexander Selkirk, claiming he was actually called Selcrag. Its authentic effect is enhanced by a pair of maps by the eminent cartographer Bellin and several lists and tables, including the exchange rate for beaver pelts in the Hudson Bay, a vocabulary of native words, and multiple pages with the geographic coordinates of all the remarkable places on the west coast of the Americas. It is presented as a translation from the English done by the eminent translator Prévost. It was considered an authoritative source for two centuries, with Buffon, d'Alembert and Jules Verne all quoting from the book, until it was proved to be a pastiche in 1939.
Despite Robert Lade being a fictional character, Prévost wrote a reliable travel account based on numerous genuine sources. Since the story involves Lade's son in the founding of the new American colony of Georgia, the book gives an extensive account of the early years of that colony. Sections describing the arrival in Georgia and explorations near the Hudson Bay where probably taken from the writing of James Oglethorpe, the colony's founder.
With contemporary owners inscriptions. Binding rubbed at the extremities and at the head of the spine. Volume 1 with a small tear in the map and several spots throughout, volume 2 with a small piece missing at the foot of the front flyleaves and some foxing on the final 4 pages; overall good copies. Alden & Landis 744/180; Gove, The imaginary voyage, pp. 310-311; Sabin 65412.
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Related Subjects:

Americas  >  North America & Mexico
Cartography & exploration  >  Imaginary Voyages & Utopias | Voyages & Travel