First Edition of Melville's Redburn: His First Voyage

    Herman Melville. Redburn: His First Voyage. New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1849. First American edition, second issue (with eighteen pages of ads instead of fourteen). Octavo. 390, [18, ads] pages. Publisher's full purple cloth (BAL binding A), boards ruled and elaborately stamped in blind, spine ruled in blind and lettered in gilt, yellow coated endleaves. Spine and board edges sunned and worn, some soiling to boards, upper corners bumped, endleaves soiled, first blank excised (not part of collation), text foxed and intermittently soiled. Lightly shaken and skewed. An about very good copy.

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    This semi-autobiographical novel is centered around Wellingborough Redburn, a sheltered youth who falls in with crude sailors. It also has one of the earliest literary references to spontaneous human combustion. Although Melville didn't like this book (he did it for money "to buy tobacco with"), it was one of the few critical successes during his lifetime (his masterpiece, Moby Dick, wasn't regarded as a classic until the early twentieth-century).

    BAL 13660.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    10th Wednesday
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