"It is not down on any map; true places never are": Rare First Edition Of Herman Melville's Moby Dick
Moby Dick; Or, The Whale.
Item Number: 4454
New York: Harper & Brothers, 1851.
First edition of Melville’s masterpiece. Octavo, original publisher’s brown cloth. A near fine condition with some of the usual light foxing and light shelfwear to the spine tips. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. A completely unrestored example of this cornerstone. A superior example.
Initially panned by critics and readers when published in 1851, "in the 20th century Moby Dick would be rediscovered and acknowledged as possibly the greatest of all American novels" (Chronology of American Literature). Arguably the greatest single work in American literature, Moby-Dick was initially “a complete practical failure, misunderstood by the critics and ignored by the public; and in 1853 the Harper’s fire destroyed the plates of all his books and most of the copies remaining in stock (only about 60 copies of Moby-Dick survived the fire)… [Nevertheless,] Melville’s permanent fame must always rest on the great prose epic of Moby-Dick, a book that has no equal in American literature for variety and splendor of style and for depth of feeling” (DAB).