London: Constable [through 1924], 1923. First Edition thus. Decorative Cloth. Limited Edition (one of only 750 copies printed) of Melville's eighth book, first published in serial form in Putnam's Monthly magazine between July 1854 and March 1855, and in book form by G. P. Putnam & Co. in March, 1855. Royal 8vo (226 x 142mm): x,225,pp. Publisher's slate-blue cloth, spine and covers paneled in blind, spine lettered in gilt, top edge gilt, fore- and bottom edges untrimmed, coated maroon end papers, title page in French blue and black. A superlative copy, virtually pristine, firmly bound, text clean and crisp throughout, with many leaves unopened. BAL 13680. Fine. Item #BB2086
Volume XI of the 16-volume Works of Herman Melville, Standard Edition, publication of which marked a key event in the Melville revival of the 1920s, rescuing the neglected writer from obscurity and securing him a prominent place in the American literary canon. Israel Potter is loosely based on a pamphlet Melville acquired in the 1840s, Life and Remarkable Adventures of Israel R. Potter (Providence, Rhode Island, 1824). According to his own account, Israel Potter had been a veteran of the Battle of Bunker Hill, a sailor in the Revolutionary navy, a prisoner of the British, a secret agent and courier in France, and a 45-year exile from his native land as a laborer, pauper, and peddler in London. Melville's plot combines a number of Potter's actual encounters—with King George III and Benjamin Franklin—with some he never had—including those with Ethan Allen and John Paul Jones. N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, carefully preserved in archival, removable mylar sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. (Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics.).