Rivers of Life. Or Sources and Streams of The Faiths of Man in all Lands; Showing the Evolution of Faiths from the Rudest Symbols to the Latest Spiritual Developments. (2 Volumes plus Chart in separate slipcase and printed Explanatory Note to Chart).
FORLONG, Major-General J.G.R. ( Inscribed ).
Price: 1950.00 USD
London: Privately Printed, 1883. Hardcovers, 4to, xlii+ 568pp & vi + 662pp, plus the scarce linen-backed chart in separate cloth slipcase. Green cloth with gilt titles, etc. to spines and front boards, black rules. The chart is massive: 7.5 feet by 2.25 feet (2286mm x 686mm when unfolded). Included with it is an extremely scarce single page sheet "Explanatory Note to Chart of Rivers of Life" - due to its ephemeral nature this was often lost and is consequently almost never seen. Colored maps, 17 full-page illustrations, 339 illustrations in-text. Inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper of Volume I: "To D. Moore, with the kindest regards of an old friend - the Author, Edinbro', March 1883." Extremely scarce "Subscriber's Edition." This is the true First Issue of the First Edition, with "Subscriber's Edition" on the title page and published without publisher's imprint. These were distributed by Forlong himself, and copies are all but unknown: it seems likely that only a minute fraction of the print run (the total of which was certainly no more than 500) was released in this issue. The author of the work, Major-General James George Roche Forlong (1824-1904) was a soldier, engineer and surveyor, who used his more than thirty years of service in India, and his retirement thereafter, to delve into the study of comparative religion and archaeology. The fruit of his labour appeared in several works, including this massive study of comparative religion and the origin and inter-connectedness of beliefs. Although now generally rejected in scholarly circles, Forlong's theories, which often stressed the sexual origins of various religious and initiatory rites and customs, found some favour at the time. Amongst those who held them in high regard was Aleister Crowley, who called the work "An invaluable text-book of old systems of initiation," and listed Forlong amongst the Saints of his Ecclesiae Gnosticae Catholicae. Spines a little darkened, cloth rubbed with a few marks, corners and spine ends bumped and rubbed with some light fraying, some bumps to edges, hinges of volume cracked but still holding nicely. Light foxing to page edges and some very light scattered foxing to text pages. The cloth chart is housed in a separate green cloth slipcase, cloth of slipcase a little darkened and discoloured, chafed at corners and edges. Chart a little rubbed overall with some uneven darkening, tiny ink-stamped name on cloth. Loose printed page explaining the use of the chart is lightly tanned. Overall a solid unmarked VG set of this massive and extremely scarce work. Large, heavy set - shipping for this set will be at cost to the customer. First Edition, First Issue.