Imaginary Dutch travels in Australia

[Vairasse d'Allais, Denis]. Histoire des Sevarambes, peuples qui habitent une partie du troisiéme continent, communément appellé la Terre Australe.

Amsterdam, Estienne Roger, 1702.

Small 8vo. 333, (1); 303, (25) pp. With engraved frontispiece (repeated in volume 2) and 2 title-pages printed in red and black. Contemporary mottled, tanned sheepskin, rebacked with the original backstrip laid down and a new red title-label.


"Best" (Howgego) edition of this account of an imaginary voyage based on the story of the VOC ship Vergulde Draeck that was wrecked on the coast of western Australia in 1656. First published anonymously by the French writer Denis Vairasse (1635-1700), simultaneously in French and English, in five parts over the years 1675 to 1679. At this time Europeans still knew almost nothing about Australia, and the utopian wild stories of the book caught the imagination of the public and went through many editions.

"In Vairasse's story, one of the boats sent out to seek help, returns with news of the discovery of a civilized country where its crew were imprisoned and then released by an armed force from Sporunde, a vassal state of the great kingdom called Sevarambia in the interior. The Sporundeans, who speak Dutch and Spanish as a result of prior European encounter, take the crew to their city where they are welcomed in friendship. On the return of the boat, the survivors of the Dragon d'Or are then taken to Sporunde, from where [Captain] Siden and his companions proceed on a journey to Severambia" (Howgego). "With its emphasis on Deism, Reason, and the full dignity of man, the novel rejects most of what France had stood for from the Huguenot Wars to Louis XIV, and announces instead the dawn of 18th century Enlightenment and 19th century Liberalism" (Friederich).

Some pages a bit browned and rebacked; generally in good condition. From the library of the Swedish antiquarian bookdealer Björn Löwendahl (1941-2013).

Barbier II, 768. OCLC 22754709. R. Davidson, A book collector's notes, p. 43. Howgego, Invented narratives, V1. Cf. Friederich, pp. 20-22.

Stock Code: BN#44911 Tags: ,