The Mountains of Rasselas(Signed)

Pakenham, Thomas


Two centuries ago Dr Johnson captured the imagination of Europe with his romantic tale Rasselas. He described the strange fate of the royal princes of Abyssinia, who were condemned to be imprisoned in a mountain fastness until they died or the order of the succession called them to the throne.

How much of this was truth and how much legend?

When he was 21, Thomas Pakenham decided to visit Ethiopia to discover the truth. In 1955, just down from Oxford, he set off for Gondar, capital of the Abyssinian empire in Johnson's day. His quest then took him to parts of the country where no European had been seen before. Travelling with an escort of armed Ethiopians to defend him from local bandits, he eventually reached Wehni, the Mountain of the Princes. There he found that the predicament of the prisoners had been even more melodramatic than Johnson had surmised.

He also made a remarkable archaeological discovery. At Bethlehem, Ethiopia, he stumbled on a medieval church of the finest style yet recorded.

The book of his extraordinary journey was published in 1959. Now, nearly forty years later, Thomas Pakenham retraces his footsteps, adding historical insight and new colour photography to his original story. This magical book is a personal record of a journey in an almost unknown land: equally enthralling as a book of travel, history, or sheer adventure.

Hardcover with unclipped dustcover, illustrated endpapers with 175 pages text and numerous illustrations.Author signed to title page. Fine.


  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
  • Publisher Place: London
  • Date of Publication: 1998
  • Edition: This Edition 1998
  • Jacket Condition: Fine
  • Binding Condition: Fine
  • Overall Condition: Fine
  • Size: 250 X 300mm
  • Lot No: 82
  • Reserve: $40
  • Estimate: $60-65

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