New York: Harper & Brothers, 1838. First edition. A lovely copy of the book, easily Near Fine, and likely one of the finest copies extant. Slight rubbing to the paper spine label with one pin-head sized hole, all lettering complete and legible, a few minor blemishes to the cloth. A few bookseller notations on the end papers (in pencil), mostly commenting on what a fine copy this is, otherwise as clean and fresh as you could hope for internally. Housed in a custom clamshell case.
Poe’s only novel – an under-appreciated classic. "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym" follows the dark adventures of a stowaway on board a New England whaling ship. Poe was drawn to the idea of writing a longer work because of the difficulty he was having sustaining a career with his short stories. Although Pym contains Poe’s trademark mastery of the uncanny, he was also inspired by a number of non-fictional contemporary travel accounts of the South Seas and areas near the Antarctic.
The novel’s reception was tepid, but it would later be recognized as a hidden masterpiece that exerted a strong influence on both American literature and the literature of the fantastic. Pym is thought to have helped inspired Melville’s Moby Dick – the works share some strong familiarities of theme and structure – as well as the author Jules Verne, who even wrote his own sequel to the work. In fact, the novel gained a great deal of respect abroad before American critics re-evaluated it. Baudelaire would translate it and Borges called it “Poe’s greatest work.” Lovecraft too was an admirer, and used many of its elements in his own story, "At The Mountains of Madness." The work appears on The Guardian’s list of “100 Best Novels.” Near Fine (Item #1544)
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