Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Mungo Park Part III

The first part of this post highlighted an early 20th century edition of Mungo Park's Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa. First published in 1799 this classic tale of discovery for the source of the Niger River in west Africa remains in print. Part II showcased 1810 and 1839 editions. Here are two editions from 1800. One is a London edition but not from the "official" publisher W. Bulmer & Co. The other is an early French edition, Abrégé du Voyage de M. Mungo Park dans l'Intérieur de l'Afrique, published Paris: C. Pougens et Orléans: Berthevin.

Many English editions were published in the first quarter of the nineteenth century - indicating how popular the book was. But none could be bothered with all the parts to the first edition and some also abridged the main narrative. The Crosby and Letterman edition is one of these. By 1803 Letterman was gone and the renamed firm, Crosby & Co., famously held the copyright to Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey until 1809 without publishing. It took Austen a further seven years to buy back the copyright and the novel was published posthumously.

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