A few weeks back, I made a fortunate discovery. The Avenue Victor Hugo bookshop (https://avenuevictorhugobooks.com/about/), for decades an icon of Boston literati, had relocated to Lee, New Hampshire, a rural enclave just south of my town, Newmarket. So, this is now where I spend an hour or so every Saturday. And, two weeks ago, I was delighted to find a compact, travel-size version of Cook’s Voyages (publicized by a number of mariners and writers, including clergyman/author, Andrew Kipis).
What came into my hands was a Kipis. First published in 1788 in London, my edition was published in Boston on the 40thanniversary in 1828. On the inside cover, several inscriptions remain visible, including one past owner who boldly states “Property of….”. It is a well-thumbed copy, with watermarks throughout. Did it accompany a mariner on a voyage, much the way a Delano or Fanning brought earlier texts on board with them? There were other indications that this was a ‘traveler’s copy’--the very small type and engravings; the simple binding with no title on the spine, and its modest size that fits easily into a palm or pocket.
What worked in 1828 works today. Having a resource like this small volume on my bookshelf adds immensely to my writing. In moments of forced idleness—afterschool pick-up, awaiting an appointment—I can peruse random pages of Cook’s narrative for my forthcoming book,Eastward of Good Hope: Early America in a Dangerous World(Johns Hopkins University Press). I had the opportunity include some Cook material in my last book for JHUP True Yankees: The South Seas and the Discovery of American Identity (https://jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu/title/true-yankees), published in 2014, and look forward to incorporating more into the upcoming text.