A Thousand Miles up the Nile [With Signed Letter from Edwards to Another Female Travel Writer]. Amelia B. Edwards.
A Thousand Miles up the Nile [With Signed Letter from Edwards to Another Female Travel Writer]

A Thousand Miles up the Nile [With Signed Letter from Edwards to Another Female Travel Writer]

London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1877.

First Edition. Hardcover. Near Fine. pp. xxv, 732, copiously illustrated with full-page plates and illustrations in the text from Edwards' own drawings, two colored folding maps (Egypt, Lower Nubia). In the publisher's original red cloth decorated with Egyptian motifs in red and black; all edges gilt. Recently rebacked (original spine retained); binding sound, contents clean and bright. Edwards (1831-1892) already had a successful career as a novelist when she traveled to Egypt for the first time in 1873 and discovered her lifelong passion. She and her traveling companion, Lucy Renshawe, hired a boat in Cairo and "sailed to Wadi Halfa, accompanying friends met on the crossing from Italy. While at Abu Simbel the party discovered, excavated, and described in detail a previously unknown small temple with a painted chamber. [The two women] also visited Syria, crossed the Lebanese ranges to Damascus and Baalbek, and traveled on to Constantinople" (DNB). On her return to England, Edwards read extensively about ancient Egypt and studied hieroglyphics before writing this book, based on her experiences and the detailed notes and measurements she made on the journey. It was the first general archaeological survey of Egypt's ruins and earned Edwards the admiration of the leading archaeologists of the day, as well as praise from the popular press for "its ‘brilliant descriptions of scenery and the exactness of its information' and as 'a delightful, gossiping book'" (DNB). A recognized classic of travel literature, it has been reprinted many times, but is quite scarce in the first edition. This volume is accompanied by handwritten note dated Dec. 31, 1878 from Edwards to "My dear Miss [May] Crommelin" (1850-1930), at the time a young and aspiring author who would eventually publish more than 40 travel narratives and novels. "Pray be quite sure that I have never forgotten you, & that I always take a very sincere interest in you & your literary progress. You greatly overrate the very small use I was so fortunate as to be of in the matter--& that you should still remember it, is to me the most astonishing experience of my life. Ever most sincerely yours, Amelia B. Edwards." The "most astonishing experience of my life," may refer to her role in the discovery and excavation of the ruins at Abu Simbel.

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