“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, original dust jacket.
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 did more than provide the illustrations for this landmark edition—he designed the entire book. “His energy, many-sided activities and preoccupation with integrated book design made him one of the best known American illustrators of his time” (Harthan, 247). 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). The Artist and the Book 140.
Book fine. Some wear to extremities of bright dust jacket with light toning to spine and three one-inch tears at spine folds. An extremely good copy.