HERMAN MELVILLE – [POE, Edgar Allan (1809-1849).] The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, of Nantucket, North America: Comprising the Details of a Mutiny, Famine, and Shipwreck, During a Voyage to the South Seas. London: Wiley and Putnam, 1838.

First English edition of a work that influenced Melville; Gansevoort Melville's copy, likely inherited by Herman. Reese notes that this was "probably obtained by [Gansevoort] while he was serving in the American Legation in London in 1846. Gansevoort negotiated British publication agreements for his brother for both Typee and Omoo that spring, but died in May. His effects, including this book, and his remains were shipped to New York and arrived in late June, 1846. It is possible that Herman had this volume in hand while writing Mardi." Poe's work follows Arthur Gordon Pym's adventures as a stowaway on a whaling ship where he faces starvation, cannibals, a whirlpool, and, finally, the Antarctic sea. Drawing on the conventions of travel writing and science fiction as well as Poe's own maritime experiences, it is ultimately in a category of its own—and considered an influence on not only Herman Melville but also writers such as Jules Verne and H.P. Lovecraft. BAL 16201, Heartman & Canny pp. 38-40, Sealts 404.2a.

Octavo. Half-title (preliminaries and a few internal leaves rehinged; page 23 with tape repair to upper corner, touching about a dozen words, brittle paper stock with minor marginal losses here and there). Modern calf, blindstamped with boat and wave motif (abrading to head of spine touching title and author; minor fading). Provenance: Gansevoort Melville (ownership inscription to Preface).

Exhibited: "A Herman Melville Collection ... on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his death, from the collection of William S. Reese," Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, 1991, no. 6.
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