MELVILLE, Herman (1819-1891). Autograph letter signed ("H Melville") to Mr. James Billson, New York, 7 April 1888.

Three pages, bifolium 175 x 114mm. (separation at backfold and other creases repaired, some marginal mounting remnants to verso). Red chemise and quarter morocco slipcase.

Melville thanks Billson for the recent “parcel you kindly sent me” as well as his separate note “which, I suppose, should have accompanied the book.” He informs Billson that he now possessed “all my published books except the ‘Piazza Tales’ now out of print. As for the ‘Two Captains‘ and ’Man of the World‘ they are books of the air — I know none such. The names appear, tho’, on the title-page of a book of mine — ‘Israel Potter’ which was republished by a Philadelphia house some time ago under the unwarrantably altered title of ‘The Refugee.’ A letter to the publisher arrested the publication.” Published in Horth, p. 511-512. Charles James Billson (1858-1832) was 26 years old when he began his correspondence with Herman Melville. A keen classics student, Billson was an attorney and educator who sought to bring knowledge of Greek and Roman literature to the English working classes and is well-regarded in some circles for his translations of the Aeneid and Pindar. Billson published his letters from Melville in 1921. (Gilman, p. 231).
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