Narrative of a Four Months' Residence Among the Natives of A Valley of the Marquesas Islands; Or, a Peep at Polynesian Life.
London: John Murray, 1846.
London: John Murray, 1846. First edition. An extraordinary copy of Melville's first book. Preceding the US printing (titled "Typee") by a month. First issue, in the "A" variant, according to BAL (13652), with the publisher's terminal catalogue dated "March, 1846," apparently without bibliographical significance. P. 19, line 1 with the uncorrected text: "Pomarea." This copy is in Near Fine condition and completely untouched. A few small chips from the spine ends, cloth one shade lighter on the spine, previous owner's name and bookplate on the front paste-down and an old NY bookseller's description tipped in on the front end paper. Browning to initial and final leaves. However, despite the long list of subtle flaws, the finest copy to appear on the market for many years. Perhaps on par with the copy at Swann in 2006 that sold for $13,800, although we have yet to see an image of that copy. Most are rebound and the few in original cloth are typically rebacked or are later printings.
Melville’s first book - a classic - published in 1846. Mixing fiction with autobiography, Typee is an account of Melville’s time in the South Pacific. Though many scholars have been skeptical of the truthfulness of Melville’s account – and, indeed, many stories in the book are thought to have been made up entirely – Typee turned Melville into a household name and would be, in fact, the best received and most popular of his works (during his lifetime). It’s thought to have had a major influence on the adventure genre, and on such writers as Jack London and Robert Louis Stevenson. “lightly but vigorously written” (Contemporary review by Nathaniel Hawthorne, in the Salem Advertiser) (Item #1650)