Travels in the Interior of Africa from the Cape of Good Hope to Morocco, from the years 1781 to 1797; through Caffraria, The Kingdoms of Mataman, Angola, Massi, Monoemugi, Muchako, &c. Likewise across the Great Desert of Sahara, and the Northern Parts of Barbary – Damberger, Christian Frederick
8vo, two volumes in one. Half title, hand coloured frontis, xvi, 222 pp and folding map. Volume 2, 299 pp., including 7 pp. description of the map, two hand coloured plates and 4 pp. ads. Rebound in calf backed marbled boards with gilt label and decorations to the spine. New end papers. Pages browned with some offsetting to the title page. “One of the cleverest volumes of fabricated travels ever produced. The details are so circumstantial, and the mixture of fact and fiction is accomplished with so much skill, that it is not uncommon to find people who do not know that the account of the travels is nothing more than a well-contrived literary deception. Much of the compilation is evidently based on Le Vaillant, as far as South Africa is concerned, and the author quotes liberally from his works, and is bold enough to contradict some of the statements contained in these volumes. He gives a particularly minute description of the “labia pudendi” (which is such a peculiar characteristic of the bodies of the females of the Coranna tribe of Hottentots), which must have been compiled from the works of several authors. The supposititious route was taken from Stellenbosch through Kaffraria and Natal, and thence through the countries now known as the Transvaal, Bechuanaland, and the Portuguese territories in West Africa; after this the author appears to have arrived at a lake something like Tanganyika in shape, which he calls ” Zambre,” and subsequently journeying in a north-westerly direction, he passes through the Soudan and the Sahara, eventually reaching the coast of Morocco, thus performing Sharp and Grogan’s feat of traversing Africa from south to north nearly a century before these intrepid travellers. The fraud was exposed by Isaac D’Israeli in his “Curiosities of Literature”, and he observed, “Damberger’s travels…made a great sensation and the public were duped; they proved to be the ideal voyages of a member of the German Grub Street about his own garret.” The volume contains one or two coloured illustrations which are evidently drawn from imagination, as the representations of the natives do not in the least resemble them from either the physiognomical or sartorial point of view. There is also a map of Africa which has been compiled from a number of contemporary charts, and the construction of which is elaborately described by a gentleman calling himself C. F. Goldbach of Leipzig.” (Mendelssohn)
Publisher: T. N. Longman and O. Rees
Date Published: 1801
Publication Place: London
First Edition: Yes
Condition: Very good.
Binding: Hardcover. Rebound in calf backed marbled boards with gilt label and decorations to the spine.