MELVILLE, Herman (1819-1891). Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1866.

A fine presentation copy of Melville's first book of poetry, written in response to the Civil War and inscribed to a major general. The lack of financial success of Battle-Pieces would send Melville to his post at the Customs House where he would serve in obscurity for two decades. It was not until the twentieth century that critics began to argue for Melville's place within the American poetic tradition. In The Civil War World of Herman Melville, Stanton Garner described Melville as “the third participant in the mid-19th-century American poetic revolution,” alongside the likes of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman.

‌Major General John Adams Dix (1798-1879) was an American politician and military officer who was also Melville's uncle's friend. Inscribed by the author on the leaf facing the title page: “Major General Dix With the respect of the author.” Inscribed copies of Battle-Pieces are rare: the last copy recorded by ABPC was the Manney copy, which sold in 1991. BAL 13673.

Octavo. Original green cloth, brown coated endpapers (a little rubbing to extremities, particularly at foot of spine; very small scuff to cloth below author’s name, bookplate removed from front pastedown). Custom cloth box. Provenance: John Adams Dix, 1798-1879 (authorial inscription).
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