Ludwig Holberg - Nicolai Klimii iter subterraneum, novam telluris theoriam ac historiam quintae monarchiae adhuc nobis incognitae exhibens e bibliotheca B. Abelini. - Jacob Preuss, 1741, First Edition.


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Copenhagen & Leipzig, Jacob Preuss, 1741. First edition, first impression. Hardback. A very good copy. An early classic of underworld science fiction by the father of modern Danish-Norwegian literature. This novel was a major inspiration for Verne, and the first work of fiction to use Halley's theory that planets comprise concentric spheres surrounding a small central sun. Set in the year 1665, the story is told by Niels Klim, who comes back to his native town Bergen after receiving his degree from the University of Copenhagen. While climbing a mountain with a group of friends, he falls into a pit to emerge - after fifteen minutes - in the hollow interior of the Earth. This space is a small cosmos with planets orbiting around a miniature sun. After floating for a while, he eventually lands on a planet named Nazar, in the kingdom of Potu (which echoes "utopia" spelled backwards), and discovers a species of intelligent anthropomorphic tree-men. Holberg's work "blends satire with a fantastic voyage and breathes the spirit of the eighteenth century. Other than its Latin language and passages of verse and prose adapted from classical authors, this novel is entirely modern in spirit. Its description of travel to exotic lands reminds one of his near-contemporary Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1726), but with far more wit and humour. Rebacked with original spine laid down, engraved frontis and three smaller plates. Ownership inscriptions. Extremities and surfaces rubbed and worn, some light foxing and a couple of neat repairs to leaves. A nice copy. [11439, Hyraxia Books].

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