James Cook from Antiquariat Eigl
Works about Captain James Cook from Antiquariat Eigl.
Katalog 36 from German bookseller Antiquariat Eigl has a very English-sounding name, James Cook. James Cook was, of course, the great English explorer from the 1770s. He took three journeys to the South Pacific, and sometimes beyond. His discoveries were numerous, his reputation impeccable. If his connection to Germany was limited, interest in that land in his discoveries and career was not. Many of the works by and about Cook were translated into German, and other works about him were written by German authors. Interest in the unknown is universal.
The first of Cook's voyages ran from 1768-1771. The main stated purpose was to observe the transit of Venus, which would allow for accurate measurement of the distance to the sun. However, the British were happy to have him poking around the area to see what competitor nations were up to. Cook completed the first circumnavigation of New Zealand and the first European exploration of the east coast of Australia. On his second journey, Cook penetrated the Antarctic circle and disproved the widely held belief that there was a massive southern continent. On his third trip, Cook was sent to the Pacific coast of America to try to find a northwest passage. He didn't, but Cook did chart much of the northwest coast of America and discovered Hawaii. The latter was his downfall, as on his return to those islands, Cook was killed by natives.
The perfect place to start a German Captain Cook catalogue is with item #1. This is a set of Cook's three voyages, but rather than being in their original English, these are the German translations. It were published in seven volumes from 1774-1788. The first three volumes contain Cook's account of the first voyage, as edited by John Hawkesworth. Volumes 4 and 5 are the unofficial account of the second voyage by Georg Forster, who accompanied his father, naturalist Johann Reinhold Forster, on that journey. The final two volumes are the account of the third and final voyage, started by Cook but completed by Captain James King as Cook died on the way home. Priced at €27,000 (euros, or about $38,260 in U.S. currency).
Item 15 is An Historical Collection of the Several Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean, by Alexander Dalrymple, published in two volumes 1770-71. Dalrymple was an expert in geography as well as a chart-maker for the British, who thoroughly studied the various expeditions to the far corners of the world of the preceding centuries. He was expected to get command of the first journey that Cook led, bowing out in something of a fit of pique when the Royal Navy refused to raise him to the level of captain. The result was that command was given to not-yet-Captain Cook. Dalrymple was the leading proponent of the then widely held belief that there was a massive southern continent, far bigger than what we now know as "Antarctica." This collection of voyages not only was designed to provide an account of what had earlier been learned, but to bolster Dalrymple's theory of a southern continent. It was of the utmost irony that his replacement, Captain Cook, on his second journey would disprove Dalrymple's theory by sailing deeply into territory supposed to be part of this massive southern continent. €13,300 (US $18,885).
James Cook from Antiquariat Eigl
Depiction of the death of James Cook.
Item 6 shows the track of Cook's ship Resolution in 1772-73 that disproved the southern continent theory. It is headed A Map of the South Pole, with the track of his Majesty's Sloop Resolution is Search of a Southern Continent. The map was published in The Gentleman's Magazine a year prior to the official publication by the Admiralty. It shows Cook penetrating the Arctic Circle on three occasions, territory previously thought to be covered by land. €590 (US $838).
There is one book about Captain Cook that is most appropriate in German. It is Heinrich Zimmermann's von Wißloch in der Pfalz, Reise um die Welt, mit Capitain Cook. Heinrich Zimmermann was an ordinary sailor, a German national who served on the lower deck on Cook's third journey. Though an ordinary sailor, he proved to be surprisingly literate. He kept notes, which he used to write this book. It was either Zimmermann or Rickman's account that was the first one to be published by a participant in Cook's final journey (precedence is unclear). It was not supposed to be this way. No sailors were permitted to publish prior to the release of the official account. Zimmermann didn't wait. He knew there was an audience for this story. So, he published in Germany, safely out of the reach of the British Admiralty that banned such a publication. His first edition was published in 1781. Item 52 is a copy of the second German edition from 1783. €29,000 (US $41,275).
All good things come to an end. Item 5 is a hand-colored lithograph of the death of Captain Cook. The artist, or the origin of this leaf depicting Cook's dramatic last moments is unknown. Antiquariat Eigl estimates it as circa 1830. Cook is depicted fallen to one knee, attempting to hold off the attacking Hawaiian natives. There is undoubtedly some artistic license taken here, but it more or less depicts the events of that day. €600 (US $855).
Antquariat Eigl may be reached at (0049) (0)8031 / 33504 or RalfEigl@t-online.de. Their website is found at www.AntiquariatEigl.de.