The Worst Journey in the World. Antarctic 1910-1913 - Apsley Cherry-Garrard 1922 - Constable and Company Limited, London Bombay Sydney - First Edition ‘Polar exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised. It is the only form of adventure in which you put on your clothes at Michaelmas and keep them on until Christmas, and, save for a layer of the natural grease of the body, find them as clean as though they were new. It is more lonely than London, more secluded than any monastery, and the post comes but once a year. As men will compare the hardships of France, Palestine, or Mesopotamia, so it would be interesting to contrast the rival claims of the Antarctic as a medium of discomfort. A member of Campbell's party tells me that the trenches at Ypres were a comparative picnic. But until somebody can evolve a standard of endurance I am unable to see how it can be done. Take it all in all, I do not believe anybody on earth has a worse time than an Emperor penguin’ - A.C-G.

A nice set of the scarce first edition, first issue half white linen over pale blue-grey paper-covered boards. Illustrated with five maps (three folding), six coloured plates, 13 folding panoramas (eleven of which were not included in later editions), and 56 photographs and sketches, ‘by the late Doctor Edward A. Wilson and other members of the expedition’. Smartly housed in a custom made cloth slipcase.

The Worst Journey in the World is to travel writing what War and Peace is to the novel... a masterpiece.’ – The New York Review of Books.
  The gripping account of an expedition gone disastrously wrong. Apsley Cherry-Garrard, the youngest member of Scott’s team, was later part of the rescue party that eventually found the frozen bodies of Scott and three men who had accompanied Scott on the final push to the Pole. These deaths would haunt Cherry-Garrard for the rest of his life as he questioned the decisions he had made and the actions he had taken in the days leading up to the Polar Party's demise. Prior to this sad denouement, Cherry-Garrard's account is filled with details of scientific discovery and anecdotes of human resilience in a harsh environment. Each participant in the Scott expedition is brought fully to life. Cherry-Garrard's recollections are supported by diary excerpts and accounts from other team mates.

This, the scarce first issue, in original half white linen over pale blue-grey paper-covered boards, which Cherry-Garrard ‘insisted upon, since he wanted his book to look as handsome and as “Polar’ as possible”. Only relatively few copies of the first edition were actually bound up. a second issue, bound in durable blue cloth, rapidly made its way onto the market’. (Taurus 84). With the extra spine label tipped-in to Volume II. [Conrad, 173. Fitzgerald 145]. Without the mythical dust-jackets.


‘A masterpiece. ... When people ask me (I get the question about twice a month), 'What is your favourite travel book?' I nearly always name this book. It is about courage, misery, starvation, heroism, exploration, discovery, and friendship. It vividly illustrates the demands of science and the rigours of travel. It is a record of the coldest darkest days that can be found on our planet. It is written beautifully but not obviously, with a subtle artistry. ... It is rare to find a person who is at once a great traveller, recounting an overwhelming experience, and who is also such an accomplished writer. ... Everywhere his voice is clear, articulate and humane and sometimes startling.’ - Paul Theroux.

‘It was perhaps the only real stroke of luck in Scott's ill fated [Terra Nova] expedition that Cherry-Garrard, the one survivor of the winter journey, happened to be able to describe it so effectively that the reader forgets how comfortable he is in his arm-chair, and remembers the tale with a shiver as if he had been through it himself.’
- George Bernard Shaw.

‘Exploration is the physical expression of the Intellectual Passion. And I tell you, if you have the desire for knowledge and the power to give it physical expression, go out and explore.... If you march your Winter Journeys you will have your reward, so long as all you want is a penguin's egg.’ - A.C-G.


Provenance: R. P. Wheeler.

References: Rosove 71A1 [Note: The second issue or ‘Library Edition’ was bound in blue cloth]. Spence 277.

Two large octavo volumes (22.9 x 15 cm). pp. lxiv 300 [4
Appendix]; viii 301-585 [3].
  Condition: Very good, patched sunning to boards, spines with toned and with wear to edges, heavier to heads, small split to tail of Vol.II, title labels slightly chipped, internally near fine, light foxing to upper edges, and to first and last few pages.   Ref: 104254   Price: HK$ 29,000