"UNCONQUERABLE AND ENDLESS LOVE… IN SHORT, GENIUS": FIRST AMERICAN EDITION OF MELVILLE'S WHITE-JACKET
MELVILLE, Herman. White-Jacket; Or, The World in a Man-of-War. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1850. Octavo, original blind-stamped plum cloth. Housed in custom cloth chemise and slipcase. $1650.
First American edition, second printing, of Melville's semi-autobiographical novel exposing the inhumane conditions and abuses aboard U.S. naval vessels.
Based on his service on the man-of-war United States, Melville's White-Jacket exposes the ferocious punishments executed for minor misdeeds, "the inhumane regimentation, and the degrading effects of the prevailing living conditions" (Hart, 819) and, perhaps more importantly, the total indifference of shipboard medical staff to the sufferings of the crew. Shortly after publication, White-Jacket was distributed to members of the U.S. Senate, who consequently outlawed flogging on naval vessels. Melville's works display "revolt and acceptance, unconquerable and endless love, the passion for beauty, language of the highest order: in short, genius" (Albert Camus). Second American printing, with all points, including 14 pages of advertisements. In second cloth binding. First published in London earlier the same year. BAL 13662.
Infrequent faint foxing, spine gently toned, a touch of rubbing to extremities. An exceptionally good copy in the original cloth.