The White Jacket

Or The World in a Man-of-War


MELVILLE, Herman The White Jacket Or The World in a Man-of-War

Richard Bentley, 1850.

First edition. Two volumes. Publisher's blue morocco grained cloth with blind stamped border to covers and the design of a ship and anchor also in blind. Titles in gilt to the spine. Yellow coated endpapers with publisher's adverts. A near fine set, with a couple of minor splashes to the cover of volume one and and a tiny rub to the rear joint of volume II. Internally fresh with perfect hinges and small abrasions to the pastedowns. An exceptional copy of a noted rarity.

Melville's emblematic fifth novel, which did much to influence the congressional prohibition of naval flogging in September 1850. The British edition, preceding it's American counterpart by some two months, was printed in an edition of 1000 copies, however despite encouraging reviews, its sales were lacklustre and by 1852 had sold less than 400 copies. The remainder of the edition were reissued with a new title page dated 1853. Copies of the first issue are notably rare in any state and exceptionally so in fine original cloth.
"Mr. Melville has performed an excellent service in revealing... the indescribable abominations of the naval life, reeking with the rankest corruption, cruelty, and blood. He writes without ill-temper, or prejudice, with no distempered, sentimental philanthropy, but vividly portraying scenes of which he was the constant witness... It is not often that an observer of his shrewdness and penetration is admitted behind the scenes, and still less often that the results of personal experience are presented in such high-wrought pictures." [George Ripley, in New York Tribune, April 5 1850].

BAL 13662

Stock ID: 39988


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