Vambery Arminius; Travels in Central Asia. Being the Account of a Journey from Teheran across the Turkoman Desert on the Eastern Shore of the Caspian to Khiva, Bokhara, and Samarcand performed in the Year 1863. New York, Harper & Sons, 1865. Large octavo, pp. xvi + 494 pp, 2 of ads, frontispiece, 11 additional plates, folded colored map in rear pocket.
The work is complete and in the original brown cloth with gilt spine titles, blind rules, bevelled edges. The binding is tight, light restoration to upper and lower spine edges, minor scuffing to boards, light wear to map edges. Original owner’s name penned lightly on first fee end sheet with 1865 date, later owner’s stamp at lower part of same end sheet and Franklin Academy book plate on upper part of first paste down with private owner’s book plate removed by Academy. Text is clean and free of stamps. In good condition.
Vambery (1832-1913), was an Hungarian explorer, linguist and philologist. He travelled to Constantinople, where he taught French in the house of a minister and, in 1858, published a German-Turkish dictionary. In 1862 he began his trek through central Asia, and often travelled in disguise (or, as an 'Efendi' or 'Dervish', as he describes himself in the Preface of this book) in order to enter places forbidden to Westerners, or non-believers. The purpose of his travels and observations was philological; that is, the study of the languages of Central Asia under the conditions, and in the surroundings in which they were actually employed. After publishing this account, he became professor of oriental languages in Budapest, publishing works on Turkish and other Altaic languages, the ethnography of the Turks and the origins of the Magyars.