Before pursuing life as an author, Herman Melville spent several years at sea. His journeys touring the vast ocean inspired many of his novels including Typee, Omoo, and – most notably – Moby-Dick. Despite his work fading from public perception around the time of his death in 1891, Melville’s work went through a revival in 1919, one hundred years after his birth. Since then, literary critics have praised his adventurous tales – with Moby-Dick being dubbed as one of the great American novels.
Bibliophiles and bookworm bidders always come to RR Auction for Melville memorabilia, and have paid premium prices for his pieces. This letter was RR’s most popular Melville offering, selling for a stunning $21,451. Writing to his publishers, George P. Putnam & Co., Melville references his residence – Arrowhead farmhouse. The author and his family resided at the farm in Pittsfield, Massachusetts for thirteen years. During that time he wrote his most well known classics including Moby-Dick, Israel Potter, and others. Describing his home he writes, “The view I would prefer to have taken of the residence, if any, would be such a view as should contain the least of the house, and the most of the country—since the former is not very lovely, but the latter is decidedly and peculiarly so.”
RR Auction has also become the go-to place to find first and early editions of classic novels, like this extraordinary copy of Melville’s great novel. Despite being regarded as a masterpiece of literature, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale initially suffered from poor sales in its original run. Publishing Company NY: Harper & Brothers first published it in 1851, with 2,915 copies printed. Due to its current status, first edition copies of Melville’s seafaring expedition are highly coveted – with the selling price of $19,738 speaking for itself.
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