The Rare First English Edition of The Voyages and Adventures of Fernand Mendez PintoFernão Mendes Pinto. The voyages and adventures of Fernand Mendez Pinto, a Portugal: during his travels for the space of one and twenty years in the Kingdoms of Ethiopia, China, Tartaria, Cauchinchina, Calaminham, Siam, Pegu, Japan, and a great part of the East-Indiaes ... London: J. Macock, 1653.
First edition in English. Folio in fours (10.875 x 7.25 inches; 273 x 184 mm.). , 234, 240-322 pages. Bound without title, one preliminary leaf, and two ultimate leaves.
Half dark brown polished calf over marbled boards, smooth spine lettered and ruled in gilt in compartments, edges sprinkled brown. Contemporary ownership inscription of John Hook to A2r. Light foxing and spotting throughout, mostly marginal. Leaf Π1 mounted on a tab, with a paper repair to middle inner margin on verso. Paper repairs to lower outer corner of Π1 and A1-A4, and both lower and upper corners of 2L1. Some tattering to lower outer corner of signature 2K, and a 1 x 2 inch (50 x 25 mm.) bit of loss to lower margin of 2L1, not affecting text in both cases. Overall, a very good copy.
A handsome albeit partial copy of the exceedingly rare first English edition of this classic travel narrative: OCLC locates no copies of this book in institutional libraries worldwide, and just one copy of the second English edition from 1663.
Soldier, sailor, doctor, and missionary Mendes Pinto (1509- 83) left Portugal in 1537 in a fleet commanded by Vasco da Gama's son, journeying for two decades before returning home. During his travels, Pinto visited Japan several times, and in fact claimed to have been the first European to visit Japan (in 1543). His eyewitness accounts of India, Sumatra, Java, and China were not only among the first published observations of these places by a Westerner, but some of the most beautiful. Indeed, as Pinto biographer Maurice Collis has written, Pinto's magnum opus is "Not only an account of his travels but a work of art, which is at once a picture of Asia, a relation of what he did and saw, a summing up of the Portuguese Empire, a vast gallery of portraits, and an encyclopedia of adventure both in the sphere of action and of the spirit" (Collis, The Grand Peregrination, 17).
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