"MOBY KENT!": ROCKWELL KENT'S MOBY DICK
(KENT, Rockwell) MELVILLE, Herman. Moby Dick or The Whale. Illustrated by Rockwell Kent. New York: Random House, 1930. Thick square octavo, original black silver-decorated pictorial cloth. $1350.
First trade edition of Rockwell Kent's masterpiece, one of the most famous American illustrated books of the 20th century, containing virtually all of the illustrations from the three-volume limited edition.
Initially spurned 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). Kent's illustrations for the book "remain his best-known contribution to popular American culture" (Wien, 134). This one-volume edition includes 272 of the 280 illustrations in the three-volume, Lakeside Press limited edition that preceded it the same year. Vanity Fair quipped, 'Of 1930 the literary event / Was the Random House edition of Moby Kent!" (Stanley 36). Random House also selected this title as its first selection for the new and popular Book-of-the-Month Club (this copy is not the BOMC edition). Without scarce original dust jacket and original cardboard slipcase. The Artist and the Book 140. Owner ink signature, dated the year of publication.
Interior clean, expert reinforcement to front inner hinge, minuscule rubs to extremities, silver-gilt bright. A lovely, near-fine copy.