Aurora Australis

Published At The Winter Quarters Of The British Antarctic Expedition, 1907, During The Winter Months Of April, May, June, July, 1908.

[SHACKLETON, Ernest H.] (editor)

THE NE PLUS ULTRA OF THE ANTARCTIC BIBLIOGRAPHY

[SHACKLETON, Ernest H.] (editor) Aurora Australis Published At The Winter Quarters Of The British Antarctic Expedition, 1907, During The Winter Months Of April, May, June, July, 1908.

Printed At The Sign Of 'The Penguins'; By Joyce And Wild, 1908.

First edition of the first book printed in Antarctica, in the very rare first state with uncorrected text. 4to. Bound in original venesta packing crate boards by the expedition's motor expert Bernard Day, the inside upper cover stamped: "[A]NTARCTIC [EXPEDITI]ON 1907". Spine renewed to style, with the original horse-harness spine laid in. All edges uncut. Signed by Shackleton on the first leaf, "Ernest Shackleton, editor". Ten lithographs and etchings by George Marston. A fine copy, remarkably clean and fresh.

An exceptional copy of the first book to be printed and bound in Antarctica and "the most renowned title in the Antarctic canon" (Taurus). One of just five known copies with the first state of the text in private hands (a further four copies being institutionally held) and one of only two known first states to be signed by Shackleton.
Having produced The South Polar Times on the Discovery expedition, Shackleton "resolved to produce a similar work on his own expedition, but took the labor a step further". Instead of producing a single typewritten copy, to later be reproduced in facsimile, he decided to produce a properly printed book with the "entire effort including the writing, printing, illustrating and binding" completed in situ in Antarctica. The result is a strikingly beautiful production in spite of the adverse conditions and inexperience in printing and binding.
"Aurora Australis has rightfully achieved legendary status as the ne plus ultra of the Antarctic bibliography for its manner of production, rarity, charisma, and association with one of the greatest of all Antarctic expeditions" (Rosove).
This copy is the exceptionally rare first state of the text with ten plates by Marston. A leaf of text in the "An Ancient Manuscript" chapter by Frank Wild was subsequently excised and replaced with revised text and an eleventh plate entitled, "Many shekels were needed for the ship to go forth" in later issued copies. The discarded text describes five wealthy men who refused to contribute to the Expedition fund and Martin L. Greene posits that Ross demanded that the offensive passage be deleted and replaced with the plate.
Rosove notes that "at most 100 copies were produced, but probably significantly fewer. Approximately 65 copies have been accounted for to date".

Rosove 304.

Stock ID: 39182

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