Moby-Dick, Or The Whale by Herman Melville, Easton Press Collector's Edition, 1977

Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick, Or The Whale. Norwalk: Easton Press, 1977. The 100 Greatest Books Ever Written. Collector's Edition. Illustrations by Boardman Robinson. Bound in original full black leather with raised bands and gilt titles on the spine, green silk endpaper, and gilt edges. 

Presented is the Easton Press Collector’s Edition of Herman Melville’s iconic novel, Moby-Dick. This beautiful edition was part of Easton Press’ collection of  “The 100 Greatest Books Ever Written.” The book was published in 1977 with illustrations by Boardman Robinson and sumptuously bound in full black leather with raised bands, gilt titles, green silk endpapers, gilt edges, and a blue silk bookmark. 

First published in 1851, the book was comparably unsuccessful. Fewer than 4,000 copies were sold and the timeless tale was overlooked. Luckily, the book was issued again by Lakeside Press in 1930 in a three-volume edition, the first to feature Rockwell Kent's beautiful illustrations, and limited to only 1000 copies.  The limited edition quickly sold out and was followed by an equally popular one-volume trade edition, published later that year by Random House and again printed by Lakeside Press. The public finally gave the novel its due. By the mid-20th century, Melville’s novel was recognized as one of the most important works in American Literature.

The intricate and dramatic tale is based on a considerable amount of Melville’s research. The author spent a substantial amount of time on the whaling vessel, Acushnet, and acquired first-hand whaling experience on the ship. The historical ship, Essex, that was attacked by a sperm whale in 1820, was a massive inspiration for much of Melville’s plot. Even the memorable name of the monstrous whale is derived from a historically aggressive whale off the coast of Chile named Mocha Dick. While well-researched, the novel was still not ready to publish until after Melville met Nathaniel Hawthorne, to whom he dedicated the book. The other author inspired Melville to rewrite his book, making the plot significantly more complex.

The novel eventually received a positive reception from readers nearly a century after it was published and is considered one of the greatest novels in American history. As John Lewis writes, "There is a mystic streak that runs through [Kent's] work, enabling him, if not to match Melville’s magnificent prose, at least to give some pictorial substance to this allegory. Maybe no sperm whale ever reached to the stars……Melville makes one feel it could..." (John Lewis, The 20th Century Book, 1984).


Bound in richly black leather with raised bands and gilt lettering on spine and covers. All Edges Gilt. Green Silk Endpapers. Blue Silk Ribbon Bookmark. , Accented in 22kt gold, printed on archival paper. Smyth sewing & concealed muslin joints. Illustrations by Boardman Robinson. Dimensions: 10 1/4" H x 6 3/4" W x 1 3/4" D.

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