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Lettres sur l'Egypte, où l'on offre le parallèle des moeurs anciennes & modernes de ses habitans, où l'on décrit l'etat, le commerce, l'agriculture, le gouvernement du pays, & la descente de S. Louis à Damiette ….

SAVARY, Claude Étienne.

  • Publisher: Paris, chez Onfroi, 1785-1786.
Paris, chez Onfroi, 1785-1786.. FIRST EDITION. 3 volumes in 2. 8°, contemporary mottled calf (wear to heads and feet of spines, edges of boards, corners, some scraping to covers), flat spines richly gilt, citron leather lettering piece (missing from volume I) and dark green leather numbering pieces, gilt letters and numbers, text block edges rouged. Woodcut vignettes on title pages. Woodcut headpieces. Light dampstain in volumes I and III; minor soiling on title pages of volumes II and III. Map of Nile Delta loose. Overall in good to very good condition. x, 395, (1) pp., (1 l.), 2 large folding engraved maps and 1 large folding engraved diagram; (1 l.), 310 pp.; (1 l.), 310 pp., 1 large folding engraved map. *** FIRST EDITION; a second appeared in 1786. This is the first literary voyage in Egypt, predating by many years those of Chateaubriand, Lamartine and Flaubert. Savary, a fluent Arabic speaker, had read many little-known Arabic sources on Egypt. Here (in the form of a series of letters) he offers vividly described details on government, commerce, agriculture, religion, daily life, and ancient and modern architecture. Savary visited Alexandria, Rosetta, Damietta (where Louis IX, King of France, landed on the Seventh Crusade), and elsewhere. The maps show the harbor of Alexandria, the Nile Delta, and Egypt as far south as Aswan. The diagram is a cross-section of the Great Pyramid. The English translation ran to at least three editions; it was also translated to German. Claude-Etienne Savary (1750-1788) was a pioneer of Egyptology who also translated the Koran, largely while traveling in Egypt. His textbook on Arabic was published posthumously as Grammaire de la langue Arabe vulgaire et littérale, Paris, 1813. *** Cox I, 386. Gay 1622. Chadenat 5290. Quérard VIII, 492. Carré, Voyageurs et écrivains français en Egypte I, 79-90. Blackmer 1492.

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