or, The Whale.New York, Harper & Brothers, 1851 Stock Code: 136810
NotesFirst US edition, in the first issue binding (BAL's "A" state). Moby-Dick was originally issued in London earlier the same year, set from the New York sheets and titled The Whale. The US edition was the first to appear under the familiar title, and contains some thirty-five passages and the epilogue omitted from the English edition. It was a "complete practical failure, misunderstood by the critics and ignored by the public; and in 1853 the Harpers' fire destroyed the plates of all his books and most of the copies remaining in stock" (DAB, vol. 12, p. 523). The present copy is in the first binding, BAL's "A" state in grey, with orange endpapers and the publisher's device stamped centrally on the sides. Copies in first issue bindings appear in purple, black, blue, grey, green, red, and slate (no priority stated, as Sadleir notes on p. 221).
Octavo. Original grey cloth, spine lettered in gilt with decorative band in gilt at head and foot, covers blocked in blind with central publisher's life-buoy device, orange endpapers. Housed in a blue quarter morocco box, spine lettered in gilt, marbled sides.
20th-century bookplate of Miriam Dyer-Bennet to the front pastedown. Spine sunned and lightly soiled, light wear around extremities with minor repairs at spine ends, patch of abrasion to front endpaper skilfully recoloured, foxed, creasing to pages around gutter and fore edge. A very good copy.
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