A Book on Discovery Rediscovered
For immediate press release:
Under circumstances not precisely known an utmost rarity has been discovered in a rather minor collection of miscellaneous books, novels and pamphlets by an antiquarian bookseller from Southern Germany.
Alan Pariloof (RN):
A Voyage towards the Pole in Search of the North-West Passage with some Observations of Travel Within and Without.
Being the Logbook of Capt. Pariloof of HMS Jocose, in the Years 1822 and 1823. London, Foolscap Press, 1828. With a handcoloured frontispiece, 12 copper engravings and a large, folding map. XVI, 342 pp. Contemp. full tree calf. Armorial bookplate "Viscount Wag, Folish Hall, Devon".
Only a few copies of this extraordinary book are known. Pariloof was one of the few survivors of the first Franklin Expedition to the Coppermine River. The men were forced to eat lichen and their own boots, and there was a murder and some suggestions of cannibalism. It is particularly in this context that Pariloof is mentioned, since he appeared well fed when the survivors returned. Nevertheless, due to his experience in dealing with Indians and Eskimos, he was given command of the "Jocose" in 1821 to attempt to find the North-West Passage. While the crew wintered near Devon Island in Baffin Bay, Pariloof went to live with the Eskimos to learn their ways. He became proficient on skis and dog-sled and took 3 native wives, with whom he sired several children. He was also initiated as a shaman of the Inupiat tribe. He refers to the spiritual experiences, induced by hallucinogen plants, as his "travels within". When the ship was free of the ice, the party penetrated the Canadian Arctic Archipelago as far as Cornwallis Island, and then returned. Pariloof was cashiered from the Royal Navy when he told Admiral Richardson that "his (the Admiral's) son, not only had better taste than his father, but actually tasted better." Pariloof then had his log-book published by the Foolscap press at his own expense, but he was "cut" by society and the book was remaindered, only a few copies having been sold.
The plates show the ship, landscapes, several Inuit women and a few extraordinary, drug-induced hallucinations. - Binding slightly scuffed. Some minor foxing throughout, a very good copy of a rare book. - Arctic Bibliography 13141; Stanton/Tremaine 1451; not in Howgego.
If anyone knows about the existence of a second copy, please contact the book dealer!