RELATION D'UN VOYAGE DU POLE ARCTIQUE, AU POLE ANTARCTIQUE, PAR LE CENTRE DU MONDE, AVEC LA DESCRIPTION DE CE PÉRILLEUX PASSAGE, & DES CHOSES MERVEILLEUSES & ÉTONNANTES QU'ON A DÉCOUVERTES SOUS LE POLE ANTARCTIQUE. Avec Figures. Amsterdam: Chez N. Etienne Lucas, Libraire, dans le Beurs straat, près du Dam, à la Bible d'Or, 1721. Small octavo, pp. [1-12]  2-180, four folded engraved plates, title page printed in red and black, eighteenth-century full leather, spine panel tooled in gold, marbled endpapers, all edges stained red. First edition. A fantastic voyage of considerable imagination in which a whaling ship is sucked into a whirlpool near Greenland and emerges in unknown territory, latitude seventy-one degrees eight minutes south, further south than anyone had actually been at the time the book was published. Rather than sailing north upon exiting the interior world, the ship's crew move closer to the pole, "discovering several archipelagoes of islands and sometimes venturing ashore to discover exotic flora and fauna -- including 'white bears' that occasionally do battle with 'sea cows' -- although they are also continually beset by strange meteorological phenomena far more complex than mere aurorae, and also geological upheavals akin to volcanoes. There are warm regions near the pole whose strange climate is explained by means of these meteorological and geological oddities, which are considerably stranger than anything found in other polar romances. The travelers find evidence of previous habitation and civilization in two places, but no living humans. ... [The work is] remarkably devoid of conventional literary interest, and is little more than a catalogue of bizarre observations. As such, however, it is sufficiently inventive and peculiar to warrant attention in the context of the early development of fictitious natural history, as a topic of interest in its own right" (Stableford). A selection of the strange flora and fauna is depicted on the four plates illustrating the narrative. Reprinted several times in 1720s, and again in 1734; collected in volume 19 of Garnier's monumental VOYAGES IMAGINAIRES, SONGES, VISIONS, ET ROMANS CABALISTIQUES ... (1787-1789). The first edition is usually found with three plates (not four as here) and at least one reprint has five plates (a sample of which we include with our copy). Costes and Altairac, Les Terres Creuses 13. Gove, The Imaginary Voyage in Prose Fiction, pp. 236-37. Stableford, The Plurality of Imaginary Worlds: The Evolution of French Roman Scientifique, pp. 90-92. Versins, Encyclopédie de l'Utopie, des Voyages Extraordinaires, et de la Science Fiction, p. 729. Sabin 69249. Leather very worn, scattered small worm holes, two plates have short closed tears which do not touch the images, lower fore-edge corners of text margins and binding worn away, nevertheless a not-so-bad copy of a rare book. The 1734 "second" edition is occasionally offered for sale, but this 1721 first edition is seldom seen in today's marketplace. Enclosed in a custom quarter green leather velvet lined clamshell box. (#161008).
No statement of printing.