[Manuscript] Voyage aux Antilles
Rare manuscript entitled "Voyage au Antilles" (s.l.n.d. [Brussels, c. 1900]). 1715 pp. 14 half-pages and 1/3 pages in three volumes in-8. 7 maps, two of them handwritten (3 maps on canvas) as well as 20 original photographs, 15 of them captioned; brown percaline, brown basane title and tomaison (title piece faded), gilt author on bottom of spine, gilt title on upper board, red edges (period binding).
The author chose to present his travel impressions, through a correspondence addressed to his wife during the years 1888-1889. These letters were born from "the need to give a form to our impressions, to preserve the memory of them [...] in the most perfect independence of any talent, of style or literary art!
These volumes are rich in details, anecdotes, the author adds with a lot of humor, that he describes " [...] some "paintings" have been diluted in the most "sympathetic" ink that we could find". He warns his reader "This is a 'diary' in all its originality, kept day by day, without order or regularity, without plan or method [...]".
Except for some details, these three volumes are organized on the same plan:
Presence of about twenty blank pages, then the text of the letters, the summary, again some blank pages, finally pages prepared to accommodate photographs.
Volume 1 includes an introduction, volume three concludes with a letter to a friend and his reunion with his wife.
Each chapter describes a stage of his journey, starting with the metropolitan cities of Paris, Nantes ... then comes the crossing to the West Indies and his trip to Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, Barbados, Tobago, Trinidad, Antigua, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Cuba.Manuscript with a very dense and neat writing, presenting numerous corrections, additions in the margins, some footnotes and numerous underlined passages.
The author also indicates "Two fables of La Fontaines transvestited into Creole parties, very original have been interspersed [...]".
7 large colored maps mounted on tabs punctuate the story. 20 black & white photographs of Havana, Saint Thomas (one photograph of the "triumphal entry of the prince of Denmark in the island of St Thomas"), Port of Spain.
Edgard Verhoost (1850-1912) is little known. We only know that he is Belgian, and that he was an engineer.
He wrote another manuscript similar to ours, which was published in Brussels in 1910. The manuscript, entitled Voyage en Norvège, was published under the title Quatre Semaines en Norvège. This edition is confidential, and we can only find a few copies in institutional libraries: one work at the KBR and one at the Bibliothèque National de France.