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Imaginary Dutch travels in Australia, with illustrated frontispiece and 16 plates

VAIRASSE D'ALAIS, Denis.
Historie der Sevarambes, volkeren die een gedeelte van het darde vast-land bewoonen, gemeenlyk Zuid-land genaamd, ...
Amsterdam, Willem de Coup, Willem Lamsvelt, Philip Verbeek, and Joannes Lamsvelt, 1701. Small 4to (20 x 16 cm). With engraved frontispiece drawn and engraved by Joannes Lamsvelt and 16 plates engraved for this edition, at least mostly by Lamsvelt, after those of the first Dutch edition. Recased in contemporary(?) vellum, new endpapers.
€ 8,250
Rare second Dutch edition of an extensively illustrated account of an imaginary voyage based on the story of the VOC ship Vergulde Draeck that wrecked on the coast of western Australia on 28 April 1656. It was anonymously published by the French writer Denis Vairasse (ca. 1635-1700). Europeans still knew almost nothing about Australia when Vairasse first published his account and his wild stories caught the imagination of the public and went through many editions. They give a good picture of what was then known and/or surmised about these little-explored regions and may have generated more enthusiasm for voyages of exploration than the more sober factual accounts.
"In Vairasse's story, one of the boats sent out to seek help, returns with news of the discovery of a civilized country where its crew were imprisoned and then released by an armed force from Sporunde, a vassal state of the great kingdom called Sevarambia in the interior. The sporundeans, who speak Dutch and Spanish as a result of prior European encounter, take the crew to their city where they are welcomed in friendship. On the return of the boat, the survivors of the Dragon d'Or are then taken to Sporunde, from where [Captain] Siden and his companions proceed on a journey to Severambia" (Howgego). "With its emphasis on Deism, Reason, and the full dignity of man, the novel rejects most of what France had stood for from the Huguenot Wars to Louis XIV, and announces instead the dawn of eighteenth-century Enlightenment and nineteenth-century Liberalism" (Friederich).
As the title-page indicates, the present edition of the Historie was published together with two shorter works concerning Dutch experiences in Australia. These shorter works added Gabriel Foigny's equally imaginary account of Jacques Sadeur, shipwrecked in the same region, and Willem Vlamingh's journal of a real voyage to Australia in 1696 and 1697, but only Vairasse's account included illustrations.
With the margins of a dozen leaves and the frontispiece tattered and restored, two leaves with a couple tears into the text repaired and another with the corner torn off affecting 3 words of a shoulder note. The other leaves and plates are in good condition, with only an occasional minor spot or stain. With the boards slightly bowed and dirty, but the binding still good
R. Davidson, A book collector's notes, p. 43; Howgego, Invented narratives, V1; STCN (4 copies); Tiele, Bibl., pp. 111-112; cf. Friederich, pp. 20-22; Landwehr, VOC 373 (the associated journal).
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Related Subjects:

Australia, new zealand & pacific  >  Australia & New Zealand
Cartography & exploration  >  Australia, New Zealand & Pacific | Imaginary Voyages & Utopias
Literature & linguistics  >  Imaginary Voyages & Utopias