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Warmly inscribed by the author

PALGRAVE, William Gifford.
Personal narrative of a year's journey through Central and Eastern Arabia (1862-63).
London and New York, Macmillan and Co., 1871. 8vo (ca. 13 x 19 cm). With a linen-backed folding map and 3 extending plans. Contemporary half morocco with maroon cloth over boards, gilt, front board stamped with the owner's initials "G.W.T.", marbled endpapers. [2], VI, [4], 421, [1] pp.
€ 2,500
Sixth edition, inscribed by the author to a fellow explorer. This travelogue, recounting a journey across the Arabian Peninsula from Riadh to the Arabian Gulf, was highly esteemed at the time of its publication, though it is now known to contain fictional passages. Disguising himself as a Syrian doctor, Palgrave visited the Rashidi capital Ha'il and Riyadh, capital of the Al Saud. He spent just over fifty days at Riyadh, where he met members of the ruling family and treated a number of Arab patients. Three chapters describe his time there and another provides a history of Wahhabism and the rise of the Al Saud.
Palgrave then travelled eastward to the shores of the Arabian Gulf, where he first visited Bahrain, which impressed him with its atmosphere of social and religious tolerance. From Bahrain he sailed for Qatar and importantly gives us probably the best 19th century description of that state. Also of value is the chapter on Oman. - Palgrave was well read in Arabic literature and was conversant with Arab customs, as well as being a shrewd observer and an accomplished writer. His book often voices his concerns over the future of Arabia, especially in those passages, of which there are many, that detail the shifting animosities and allegiances between the countries and tribes of the Arabian Peninsula. He was particularly watchful of the advances of the Emirate of Nejd and critical of what he saw as the intolerance and severity of the Wahhabi faith.
Inscribed by the author on the first page to the Scottish natural historian and marine zoologist Charles Wyville Thomson (1830-82), "his fellow traveller for many miles by sea and land" and a later inscription to half-title. Well preserved with armorial bookplate of Geo. W. Wyville Thomson on the front endpaper. Lacking the portrait frontispiece. Otherwise in good condition. Cf. Macro 1731 (1865 first ed.); Henze III, 693; Howgego III, P5 (other eds.).
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Middle east & islamic world  >  Arabian Peninsula & Gulf States