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MELVILLE SOURCES – Three titles read by Herman Melville for research on his fiction. Providence and New York: 1824-1844.

Three Melville source books, including the first novel to treat of whaling in Nantucket, the biography of Israel Potter, and a rare account of the Somers mutinyan important inspiration for Billy Budd. Melville’s cousin, Gansevoort, was First Lieutenant aboard the Somers and one of the officers who agreed to condemn the conspirators to immediate death. "He may have passed inside information of what occurred to Melville" (Reese). Comprises:

1. Life and Remarkable Adventures of Israel R. Potter (A Native of Cranston, Rhode-Island). Providence: J. Howard for I.R. Potter, 1824. 12mo. Woodcut frontispiece. 19th century half calf, spine gilt (worn at spine and edges). 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. 23.
‌2. [HART, Joseph C.] Miriam Coffin, or The Whale-Fisherman: A Tale. New York: G. & C. & H. Carvill, 1834. Two volumes, octavo. Half titles. (Foxing.) Original cloth (spine ends worn, some staining, signature sprung in vol. 1). Provenance: “T.R.W.” (ownership inscriptions, one dated 1834).
3. [COOPER, James Fenimore.] The Cruise of the Somers: illustrative of the Despotism of the Quarter Deck and of the Unmanly Conduct of Commander Mackenzie. New York: J. Winchester, 1844. 8vo. Original wrappers (upper wrapped a bit chipped and soiled, with two old stickers). Custom chemise and box. 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. 45.
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