THE PEASANTS OF CHAMOUNI
CONTAINING AN ATTEMPT TO REACH THE SUMMIT OF MONT BLANC
AND A DELINEATION OF THE SCENERY AMONG THE ALPS
NO AUTHOR INDICATED
1823 FIRST EDITION
MONT BLANC RARITY
ALBERT SMITH'S EARLY INSPIRATION TO CLIMB MONT BLANC
This is the 1823 first printing of the first edition of THE PEASANTS OF CHAMOUNI CONTAINING AN ATTEMPT TO REACH THE SUMMIT OF MONT BLANC; AND A DELINEATION OF THE SCENERY AMONG THE ALPS by an anonymous author, though there is one entry on WORLDCAT (the giant book database on the internet) attributing William Harvey as the author for the 1826 second edition. This book was published in London by Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy in 1823. It is the very rare first edition of the book. WORLDCAT lists only 3 examples of the first edition. The book measures 140mm tall x 188mm and has 164 pages + 12 unnumbered pages of advertisements at the end, engraved title page and engraved frontispiece. The page numbering starts at 2 with the first page of text being unnumbered. That first page is preceded from the front by: blank recto of frontispiece, frontispiece, title page, verso of title page with printing information, "advertisement" page, and verso of advertisement page with continued printing. The blank front free endpaper is missing based on examination of the edge of the front pastedown and the presence of a blank rear free endpage of matching pastedown page material. This is a rare Mont Blanc item, a children's book, that describes the 1820 Hamel attempt to ascend Mont Blanc where the first mountaineering fatalities occurred on the mountain. Albert Smith wrote in his book The Story Of Mont Blanc that he read this book as a child and that it was his first inspiration to climb Mont Blanc. He must have liked the book because he wrote that he still possessed it as an adult. For the relevant pages in Smith's book see the listing on this website for the 1853 first edition of the book. It contains photos of those pages. For an account of the Hamel expedition see the listing on this website for Mathews' The Annals Of Mont Blanc where there are photos of the relevant pages. The story is fictionalized, but keeps the Hamel account and Mont Blanc content completely accurate using the correct names of the people and places. Most of the incidents described in the Mont Blanc section of the story are true to the actual testimony by the survivors of the Hamel climb. The Mont Blanc content starts at page 67 and continues until the end of the book.
CONDITION: Bound in blue marbled boards with red leather spine with gilt title lettering. I do not know if the book was originally issued in hardcover. This is a very early binding likely contemporary with time of publication, possibly the publisher's original. The top of the spine is chipped and the cover corners are rubbed as are the lower edges of the covers. There is offsetting of the frontispiece onto the title page. The leaf at page 47-48 has a repaired loss with handwritten replacement text (see photos below). This appears to be a very early repair using old good paper and wheat paste. It is stable. The binding is sewn (likely original sewing) with some slight opening between a few signatures, but it is not loose or unstable anywhere. Overall the book is sturdy and does not require sensitive handling while reading it. The pages do not have foxing but there is the occasional minor, small age spot (two or three pages only). There is no writing or pen marking in the book, no previous owner marks. Price: SOLD.
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