Livingstone (David)


Including a sketch of Sixteen Years' Residence in the Interior of Africa, and a journey from the Cape of Good Hope to Loanda on the West Coast; Thence across the Continent, down the River Zambesi, to Loanda on the West Coast; thence across the continent, down the River Zambesi, to the Eastern Ocean

Published: John Murray, London, 1857

Edition: First Edition

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First Edition, first issue: 687 pages (+ 8 pages of Murray's List of Recent Works, dated, November 1, 1857), folding tinted lithograph frontispiece of Victoria Falls, portrait, 2 other tined lithographs, 42 wood engraved plates and other illustrations, 2 folding maps by Arrowsmith - 1 in pocket at the back,  publisher's blind stamped brown cloth with gilt titling on the spine, corners slightly bumped, edges uncut, with the binder's ticket of Edmonds & Remnant, London at the bottom of the rear paste-down endpaper, original brown endpapers, the hinges are weak and the binding loose, contents crisp, a very good copy of the first issue of this important book.

Tinted lithographs by T. Picken as frontispiece and opposite page 66 and 225 printed by Day & Son. Although Bradlow (and Gaston Renard) calls this issue Variant no. 2 it is certainly the first issue because all the signed copies noted by Clendennen & Cunningham (David Livingstone, A Catalogue of Documents, Edingburgh 1979, page 265) bear dates from late October 1857 the earliest being 26th October. This is also noted by Bradlow and corresponds with our own research.

 ( ‘Livingstone received an invitation to publish a volume on his travels even before he had returned from Africa. The President of the Royal Geographical Society, Roderick Murchison, wrote to the explorer in May 1856 explaining that John Murray - one of the best known geographical publishers of the day - was eager for Livingstone to put together a book based upon his experiences in Africa. Three weeks after Livingstone returned to England, Murray iterated his desire to put Livingstone into print, making a formal proposal.

'Murray was so anxious to secure Livingstone’s book, he offered unusually generous terms. Writing on 5 January 1857, Murray noted that although it was standard practice to divide any profit equally, he offered in this instance to undertake the entire cost of publication, including the engraving of illustrations and maps, in return for only one-third of the profits.

 In this exchange, Murray presented himself as a kind of agent operating on the explorer's behalf, playing up the personal satisfaction that he would gain from working with Livingstone whilst playing down the great financial reward such a contract might bring the publisher. Murray was, of course, well aware of the potential market that was already developing for Livingstone's text owing in no small degree to the efforts of Roderick Murchison, who did all he could to ensure that the explorer remained in the spotlight.

'Murchison and Murray's attempts to create a market for the book appear to have worked to tremendous effect, earning Livingstone a significant sum in the process. The first edition of 12,000 copies (published on 10th November 1857 of which Livingstone received 250 copies) sold out immediately despite its price tag of one guinea. To cope with the demand, Murray ordered the printing of another 8,000 copies of the 689 page volume. By the beginning of December this run too had sold out and Murray sent another 5,000 to the presses (Livingstone 1857q). He announced the fact that 25,000 copies in all had now been printed in the 12 December edition of Notes and Queries, informing its readers that "a fresh delivery of this work will be ready next week, when Copies may be obtained of every Bookseller in Town or Country."’

  • Overall Condition: A very good copy
  • Size: 8vo (230 x 150 mm)
  • Name: Clarke's Africana & Rare Books
  • Contact Person: Paul Mills
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 021 794 0600
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Visa & Mastercard via PayGate secure links and Bank transfers.
  • Trade Associations: ABA - ILAB, SABDA

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