London: Ingram, Cooke, and Co., 1852/. First edition in English. Published in German in 1844. With eight tinted plates (including frontispiece and decorative title). Uniform toning to a few gatherings due to paper quality (a different paper stock from the rest of the book was used in those gatherings). A very good, clean copy overall. Publisher’s elaborately blindstamped brown cloth with gilt spine, Yellow coated endpapers. Octavo. 336, [4 ads] pp. Item #17001
In 1842 the middle-aged Austrian Ida Pfeiffer (1797 - 1858) set out for the Holy Land. To counter protests from her family…Pfeiffer, who became a well-respected travel writer, disguised this journey as a pilgrimage. Her travel diary [i.e., the present work]…gives immediacy to her perceptions and conveys the excitement she felt despite the many hardships of the journey. In it she presented herself as a religious woman eager to visit sacred sites, but she also relished the freedom of traveling and she commented on life in the Holy Land at that time, views that were widely disseminated because of the book’s popularity in Europe. Her diary vividly depicts her own perceptions of being a ‘pilgrim,’ presents a picture of life in the Holy Land, as she experienced it, and reveals the difficulties she encountered as a woman traveler,” (Jennifer Michaels, “An Unusual Traveler,” December 2013).
Pfeiffer was one of the first European woman explorers and the first woman known to complete a voyage around the world alone (though she did have many local guides on her journeys). She covered about 200,000 miles on the journey, during which she collected botanical, mineralogical, and entomological collections for the British Museum. She documented her travels in A Lady’s Voyage Round the World (1850), A Lady’s Second Journey Round the World (1855), and other travelogues. Over the course of her life, Pfeiffer journeyed mostly by herself to Palestine, Istanbul, Egypt, Italy, Scandinavia, South American, China, India, South Africa, Singapore, Borneo, Madagascar, and California. Her accounts of her travels sold widely and helped finance later trips.