1. Age of Discovery
Jonathan Swift 1667-1745
Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World: In four parts
London: B. Motte, 1726, 2 volumes, volume 1 displayed
In his most popular work, now known as Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift uses his protagonist’s adventures in far-off lands to satirise European politics and society. The imaginary places explored by Gulliver were inspired by Herman Moll’s world map, published only a few years before Swift was writing (1719), a copy of which is also held by Monash. Towards the end of his travels, Gulliver visits New Holland (Australia). This copy is a first edition, first state, and was previously in the library of the Duke of Kent.
Jonathan Swift 1667–1745
The Voyages of Lemuel Gulliver to Lilliput & Brobdingnag
London: Folio Society, 1948
Edward Bawden is one of the bestknown English book illustrators of the 20th century. Most illustrated editions of Gulliver’s Travels have been created for children, but this Folio Society edition offers an adult audience a refreshingly new and colourful interpretation of Swift’s classic.
Image courtesy of the Estate of Edward Bawden
Daniel Defoe 1660–1731
The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived eight and twenty years all alone in an un-inhabited island on the coast of America ... With an account how he was at last as strangely deliver'd by pyrates
London: Printed for W. Taylor, 1719, 3rd ed.
Robinson Crusoe was first published in April 1719. It proved so popular that by December, the book had gone through four editions. In the first edition Crusoe was given as the author and the public received the book as a true narrative. It may in fact have been inspired by the real life story of Alexander Selkirk, a seaman marooned in 1704 after Dampier left him at his own request. Defoe was one of the earliest writers in the genre of ‘realistic fiction’.
Charles de Secondat Montesquieu baron de 1689–1755
Das Herrn von Montesquiou Persianische Briefe
Frankfurt and Leipzig: Auf Kosten des Uebersetzers, 1759
Montesquieu was a social philosopher who played a part in the first phase of the French Revolution. His Lettres Persanes was first published in 1721 and quickly circulated throughout Europe. The German edition is shown here. The work was written as a series of letters from two Persians, Usbek and Rica. During their journey through France, they critique French society, politics and religion. Like Swift, Montesquieu utilised travel narrative to comment upon and satirise contemporary society.
Isaac Commelin 1598–1676
Begin ende voortgangh, van de Vereenighde Nederlantsche geoctroyeerde Oost-Indische Compagnie : vervatende de voornaemste reysen, by de inwoonderen der selver provincien derwaerts gedaen ... : gedruckt in den Jare 1646
[Amsterdam], 1646. 2 vols, vol 1 displayed
Commelin’s two-volume work is an account of 42 voyages made by the Dutch East India Company. The book contains many illustrations depicting the scenery, people and animals encountered during these travels. Shown here is the Queen of Patani in a triumphal procession with elephants. These strange and exotic beasts fascinated Europeans. The voyage to Indonesia described in this part of the volume took place in June 1600 under Jacob van Neck.
Bartholomew Sharpe, active 1679-1682
A Collection of Voyages: In four volumes ... illustrated with maps and draughts : also several birds, fishes, and plants, not found in this part of the world : curiously engraven on copper-plates
London: Printed for James and John Knapton, 1729
Shown here is a map of the world drawn after William Dampier’s voyage to the South Seas. Dampier was the first Englishman to visit Australia. Maps based on Dampier’s and the Dutchmen Willem Janszoon and Willem Schouten’s explorations of the west coast of New Holland served as inspiration for Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.
Wooter Schouten 1638–1704
Wouter Schoutens Oost-Indische voyagie...
Amsterdam: By Jacob Meurs; enand Johannes van Someren, 1676
Described as a seaman and traveller, Wooter Schouten voyaged as a ship’s surgeon. He was part of many of the Dutch explorations in and around Ceylon, Batavia and Sumatra during the 1660s. Schouten’s travel writing was very popular in the 18th century and appeared in a number of editions.