Thursday, May 8, 2014

1965 Spanish Language Moby-Dick


Llamadme simplemente Ismael.

We have many many foreign language editions in the collection, but alas we have held off on collecting a Spanish Language edition.  Not because we have some problem with spanish dating back to high school when we had to focus on a language and we choose french. Which turned out to be a big mistake, "oh eh le gar" turned out to be a pretty much useless phrase. And thus we had a distaste for all the romance languages, no not at all.  

It was a hesitation as to which country best represented the Spanish Language. One would think that, obviously, Spain was the correct choice, but we thought that our friendly neighbors to the south might also be a better choice. Or perhaps, the Philippines, they speak Spanish there right? 

All of the staff meeting discussions proved moot when this edition became available and we snapped it right up. While its abridged and really poor printing and paper, thoughtless cover design we love that it is Argentinean 

We so fondly remember back in the 1980's when the UK and Argentina came to blows over the Falkland Islands.  There were high tech weapons, sea battles, death and destruction, a vast naval armada steaming south to free a small band of sheep herders from the yoke of.... you get that point. 

But our real point is this: IT was a four month war.  Oh how we wish nations would have four month wars now.   I never thought I would long for those days.  

Therefor we have chosen Argentina to represent the Spanish Language edition of Moby-Dick in the collection as a salute to that proud and beautiful nation. Someday it is our wish to visit Buenos Aires, number one on the list of cities to visit.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

1939 Albert and Charles Boni, MOBY-DICK

We purchased this volume late last year. There was some discussion about it, since there is another copy in the collection. Here  However, the other volume has a nice blue cover with silver type and decoration, so we thought that this issue is an example of the continuing drag the depression placed on the economy in the late 1930's. Here the printer forgoes the silver. Yet the three gulls are still lovely.
Chapter LVI
From the ship, the smoke of the torments of the boiling whale is going up like the smoke over a village of smithies; and to windward, a black cloud, rising up with earnest of squalls and rains, seems to quicken the activity of the excited seamen.

Life is full of black clouds, some pass quickly, and other linger. Here a black cloud calls the seamen to action, whether from excitement and anticipation, or from anxiety, we are not told. 


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

2009 Japanese Language Edition, Moby-Dick

Moby-DickPurchased in 2009, During a visit to NYC.

In 1987, working for a multi-national corporation, the editor was due to make a swing thru the far east on a business trip. The trip was aimed at finding suppliers of the product we were selling here in the US. That trip was to start in Taipai and continue to Hong Kong and end in Toyko.

In his mid 30's, he was in the the midst of prolonged funk, asking existential questions and coming up with little to show.  It made sense to turn back and to reexamine things from the past and he choose to reexamine the books from boarding school that he was supposed to read and never did.

As the cab for the airport pulled up to the house he just grabbed his high school copy of Moby-Dick.

he read it on the flight over...

Thus started this obsession.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

1982 Hebrew Language Moby-Dick


For many years we have had our eye on this volume or desired one like it. Finally we were able to purchase this exact edition. Excited, it arrived having been sent to us all the way from Tel Aviv.

Translating Moby-Dick into Hebrew seems a bit conflicted, in a way it is like an Italian baseball team, on the surface kind of reasonable but there is a bit of doubt.

It is a doubt of vocabulary. Hebrew is an ancient, beautiful language but indecipherable to us. The question is: does the Hebrew language have the words to flesh out the whaling flavor or the New England flavor or the flavor of the 1850's jargon? Can any foriegn translation convey the Melvilleness of the original English text? Just as we question a Chinese translation as to how well it stands up, we would question a Hebrew translation. But actually, we do not care. The proper printing of the book is admirable, back to front, right to left, and we place it right next to the prized Japanese volume on the shelf. Perhaps the translation inside is solid and well developed by the translator, but since we can not read a word of Hebrew, in fact it is a complete mystery, we do not care one wit if the translation is whacked, it is awesomely dope to finally have experienced this book and the unique aspects of a Hebrew book insure that this volume too will be a prized addition to the collection. 

Chapter IX The Sermon
Father Mapple quoting Jonah:  ""I am a Hebrew," he cries - and then - "I fear the Lord the God of Heaven who hath made the sea and the dry land!""

We admit that we are judging a book by its cover; we will take it on faith that what lays deep inside is as solid as the externals. Many of the English volumes in the collection are totally beat either in design or condition, but still the internals remain the same: Melville's genius. In the vast ocean of printed material the rarest are the volumes that the internals and externals are harmonious, balanced, grounded, such as the ones that are both beat outside and beat inside by loving use (ex lib or the vastly underlined ones used in American Lit classes), or the ones that are beautiful on the inside and beautiful outside, the work of master craftsmen and craftswomen in the art room and on the press (Lakeside, Arion). The pursuit of a balanced volume is our quest.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

2012 Penguin English Library Moby-Dick

We ordered this book directly from the UK, from West Sussex to be exact, because, well, to be honest, we love love love the cover.  Its become increasing apparent by comments and traffic to this blog, that, for those who don't care so much for the text, the covers are their jam. 

We have no real desire to touch this book, the cover being so crisp and the binding fresh. But to read a few facts about the publication we had to peek inside. Gingerly, we opened it to ascertain the publication date, peeking in between the pages we were not too surprised to see printed on the bottom of the reverse of the title page that Penguin is committed to a sustainable future for their business, their readers and "our" planet. Phew, that means that no polar bears were harmed in the production of the series. Good for them. And we certainly hope they mean that, but not too strongly, because if you take that position to the extreme, it may make sense, to save the planet, to stop printing books and only provide e books, and that makes us uneasy, queasy really, a bit of spit up just came to our mouths.

Chapter LXXIX  The Praire

Has the Sperm Whale ever written a book, spoken a speech? No, his great genius is declared in his doing nothing particular to prove it. 

So Melville ascertains that the genius of the Sperm Whale is that he needs to do nothing to prove it. "do nothing to prove it."  Just because something can be done, accomplished, manufactured, engineered, or coded; just because some genes can be spliced, some car made with ridiculous amounts of batteries, or books can be published on tablets, that does not in and of itself mean it is genius. Penguin is right to worry about the planet, but we should worry about each other as well.  We don't need to prove to each other how genius we are.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

1987 MOBY DICK Russian Language

One cold day in the fall, the editor came home from teaching at the local college at which he has a minor teaching gig, to discover in the mail box a package, wrapped and stamped and traveled from RUSSIA.

He was perplexed but assumed that it was just another EBAY purchase that he had lost track of.
Upon, opening however, there was such an intriguing card. "Dear Mr. Pettit, Im a big fan of Moby Dick.... I would like to share this book with you"  - Katya

We were intrigued and after some time searching and emailing we met, on line, Katya and thanked her for this lovely gift to the collection.

In the course of corresponding to Katya, we learned that she is a graphic designer, loves the illustrations, and is fascinated by the story. She came into possession of this book, and as its a duplicate of one she already had, her friend suggested that she send it to us. We are so thrilled and honored of that jesture.

Visit her blog post here.


Chapter XLV The Affidavit
The ship, however, was by no means a large one: a Russian craft built on the Siberian coast, and purchased by my uncle after bartering away the vessel in which he sailed from home.

This is a rare and wonderful gift.

Monday, February 4, 2013

1977 Easton Press Moby-Dick


 One of the most common editions available is the Easton Press. A search of Ebay found no less than 100 active listings ranging from $10 to $50 or so. This copy is near perfect having never been opened. This craftsmanship is wonderful. Illustrations by Robinson Boardman. The paper fine, gold edged, type large and easy to read. 
This is a fine book to have on the side table.

Our love of this work stems not just from the many finely made editions, but also from the text itself. Every page has something worth mulling over.  

Chapter III   The Spouter Inn

On one side hung a very large oil-painting so thoroughly besmoked, and every way defaced, that in the unequal cross-lights by which you viewed it, it was only by diligent study and a series of systematic visits to it, and careful inquiry of the neighbors, that you could any way arrive at an understanding of its purpose. such unaccountable masses of shades and shadows, that at first you almost thought some ambitious young artist, in the time of the New England hags, had endeavored to delineate chaos bewitched. ...[but] The picture represents a Cape-Horner in a great hurricane; the half-foundered ship weltering there with its three dismantled masts alone visible; and an exasperated whale, purposing to spring clean over the craft, is in the enormous act of impaling himself upon the three mast-heads.

Here in the first pages of the book, Melville foreshadows the action to come in the subject of a old dark painting on the wall of the Inn. Whale versus ship, with the ship on the losing end. 

NB: "in the time of the New England hags"  LOL - ed. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Cozy Classics - Moby Dick

Many people have sent us gifts of Moby-Dick. All of them are treasured, and will be treasured for ever. The editor is so happy to announce that  his daughter is expecting her first and the editor's first grand child. As so, this gift from a wonderful neighbor here in the center of the Capital City of the Empire State, comes so timely into our possession. Its the perfect gift, and we can not wait to read Melvilles classic to our grandson once we get to hold him in our arms!
The Cozy Classic is PERFECT, here we quote the entire text of this ultra abridged edition:

Boat - captain - leg - mad - sail  - find - whale - chase - smash - sink - float 

Each page is a word and the next is an image in felt.  What could be more perfect?  A MOBY DICK marathon would take just minutes....

Chapter XIV Nantucket

Look now at the wondrous traditional story of how this island was settled by the red-men. Thus goes the legend. In olden times an eagle swooped down upon the New England coast, and carried off an infant Indian in his talons. With loud lament the parents saw their child borne out of sight over the wide waters. They resolved to follow in the same direction. Setting out in their canoes, after a perilous passage they discovered the island, and there they found an empty ivory casket, - the poor little Indian's skeleton.

Children bring hope for the future. No matter what or how, children enliven us, enrich us, love us. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

1942 Dodd, Mead and Co, Ex Lib

This is a beat book. Ex Lib from the Philip Livingston Junior High School, Albany, New York. Some joker, penciled a "'s" after the title word Moby on the title page. It was last taken out of the library in April 1986 by a student named Jennifer. The first date due was October 3 1962. Sixteen different students names are on the card. All of those kids had a chance to hold this copy in their hand, look at the illustrations, and ponder at least for a moment the story. For sure few of them read the book in its entirety. But at least they gave it a try.

This is the #3 copy. The book has had a long useful life, with just some spilled ink on the outer pages. Now it is safe in the collection, a gift to the collection from JM, long time friend of the editor. JM bought it in a random yard sale this summer in Albany. 

Gifts take many forms, and have many uses but for the most part are given in gratitude, or affection, or guilt. 

Chapter LXXII - the Monkey Rope

When Stubb reappeared, he came with a dark flask in one hand, and a sort of tea-caddy in the other. The first contained strong spirits, and was handed to Queequeg; the second was Aunt Charity's gift, and that was freely given to the waves.

Aunt Charity's gift to the Pequod was given freely to the crew and freely it was given to the seas. Some gifts have no real value and serve no real purpose, only to be regifted at a later date or thrown out. 

JM's gift, regardless of the reason, will be preserved and cherished. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Undated Carlton House Moby-Dick

Recent purchase, this undated volume comes with a dandy slip cover, but its best feature is the leather cover. The case has saved the leather from the ravages of time.

On the inside cover is a book plate: John Henderson Talley   There are several John Henderson Talleys in the google search, but we choose this one. Its just a nature of the human race that we are all related eventually and so it is with this John Henderson Talley, as the editor traces his descent from Wolphert Gerretse Van Kouwenhoven as did JHT.

Chapter 35 The Mast-Head

Let me make a clean breast of it here, and frankly admit that I kept but sorry guard. With the problem of the universe revolving in me, how could I—being left completely to myself at such a thought-engendering altitude,—how could I but lightly hold my obligations to observe all whale-ships' standing orders, "Keep your weather eye open, and sing out every time.". 

Sometimes when we are confronted with the challenges of daily life, we lose sight of the bigger picture, and sometimes when we are focused on the bigger picture we lose sight of the daily challenges. Ishmel, to his credit admits that standing on the mast head contemplating the big cosmos, Karl Sagen style, he lost interest in scanning the horizon. We too, while contemplating the bigger picture of our interpersonal life  have seemingly lost sight of that life which is right in front of us. Time to put down the spy glass and to stop looking at the far off stars.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

1997 Konemann Classics Moby-Dick




Moby DickThe 1997 Konemann Classics Moby Dick features J M W Turner's The Whale Ship on the cover, and is ubiquitous in bookstores and on line. The paper, type, printing is just so classic and beautiful, with a subtle feel which all combine to make this a "proper book".

 Konemann is a publisher based in Cologne Germany. The book is printed in Hungary. An example of The European Union at its finest (how is that Euro doing guys?). We are unaware, at this time, of any other book in the collection printed abroad yet in the english language. This is something for further study.

Chapter XLV

Owen Chase: The dark ocean and swelling waters were nothing, the fears of being swallowed up by some dreadful tempest, or dashed upon hidden rocks, ... seemed scarcely entitled to a moment's though; the dismal looking wreck, and the horrid aspect and revenge of the whale, wholly engrossed my reflections....

Owen Chase recalls the wreck of the whale ship Essex, his ship, sunk by a whale, (a true story) and in doing so, he points out that it is not the phantoms of the mind, the possible out comes of future events that haunt him, it is the actions of the whale that stove his ship and left him adrift that horrifies and frightens him. 

Melville sets the stage for the ultimate destruction of Ahab and his ship by referencing in this chapter a well known event. Thus he adds strength to the notion that it is not words but actions, it is not the ghosts and goblins of our minds that frame life but actual happenings, real things. 

Real things like a live whale stoving in the side of a wooden ship causing complete wreckage.

We are all warned.





Monday, September 3, 2012

Ahab Beckons meets THDC


As mentioned in the  previous post, we meet Ahab Beckons during our stay at Arrowhead.  Kindly there is a nice recounting of the time spent on their blog. 



Sunday, August 26, 2012

Arrowhead

June and July proved to be months of major events for the editor. My daughter married a wonderful man, Tom. Walking a daughter down the isle is a singular event in a man's life.

We moved our parents into assisted living, and began to care for them in a new way.

Hence the lack of posts.

Saturday, was an amazing day, first I traveled to Arrowhead and sat at Herman Melville's desk and created a small landscape. It is the view he had when he wrote Moby-Dick. I donated it to the Berkshire Historical Society. Then I spent an engaging hour with the dozen or so folks who came to see selections of the Collection.  I brought 20 of the foreign language editions and talked about the collection.

After that I whizzed off to Worcester to participate in my mother's 90th birthday party. Ironically and completely un expected for me, was that Arrowhead was almost right next to the Miss Halls School, where my mother spent her high school years. Having never seen it, I was glad at the happy coincidence.

The staff at Arrowhead is fantastic, and I got a chance to meet Ahab Beckons, our favorite MD blogger.



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Day at Arrowhead - August 25, 2012



On August 25th The Moby Dick Collection will be going to Arrowhead for a day of display, discussion and art. I am deeply excited to have been asked to share the collection at Herman Melville's Arrowhead. Additionally, I am going to arrive early and create art! I will paint two small paintings that I will donate to the Museum. One would be a view of the landscape and if all goes well one interior painting.  This is a great honor for me and I am thrilled.

Mark your calendars and join me!


photo: BERKSHIRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Sunday, June 3, 2012

1996 Quality Paperback Book Club MOBY-DICK

1996 Quality Paperback Book Club, Book of the Month Club, Inc. Printed in the United States of America.  This book is pristine, brand new, never read. Perhaps this book was printed at the beginning of the end of the Printing Age. 1996 marks the beginning of the internet boom.

William Ewart Gladstone, Prime Minister of Great Britain during the last half of the nineteenth century, was a Homer scholar. It was he that first noted that the color blue never appears in Homer's works. He speculated that Homer was color blind.

Using Gladstone's logic we wanted to note if Melville was color blind.  We searched the text and found the following: Yellow is mentioned 21 times, Red is mentioned 38 times, Blue is mentioned 46 times, Black is mentioned 82 times and White is mentioned 208 times. But none of the uses of blue are anything but references to the color and not the meaning: melancholy.

Chapter 135 The Chase 3rd Day

...all the past is somehow grown dim. Mary, girl! thou fadest in pale glories behind me; boy! I seem to see but thy eyes grown wondrous blue. 

Melville, it can be assumed was not color blind by his accurate uses of the words. Homer, however, it is agreed uses color in an odd way. The explanation is not that Homer was color blind but that man has become gradually aware of the colors around over time. And why not? In our own short lives we too become aware of the things in front of us as time goes by. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

1966 The World's Classics #225 Moby Dick

This book was a gift to the collection, and will remain one of the treasures of the library. 
Thoughtfully tucked in the back is the bill of sale. The book is diminutive, dust jacketed yet damaged. 

At some point in the years it was subjected to a bit of mold. There is remnants of disease on the boards.  We will never know how or when the injury occurred, and to the casual observer the book looks whole and proper. But there is always going to be a bit of hesitation when others come in contact with this book. Questions will always be raised. This edition may never be able to take a solid spot in the row of other Moby-Dicks, its neighbors will try to scoot away, gain some distance, perhaps looking for the antibacterial hand soap if they accidentally touch.
Sadly, because of this underlying damage, this book will always be a bit out of place. It will have a difficult time of fitting in, but since it is aware, it will grow old with a grace few "normal" books have. 

Chapter LX Queequeg in His Coffin

... if a man made up his mind to live, mere sickness could not kill him: nothing but a whale, or a gale, or some violent, ungovernable, unintelligent destroyer of that sort.

Imagine the destroyer of sort that tried to take this book out... perhaps it was a backed up sewer drain that over flowed its vent, or a flat roof that rain made its way threw, or some other damp invader of the home.  In fact this book had made up its mind to live long before that happened, live so that someone could give it as a gift to someone else. That damp invader was not destroyer enough to kill this book. 

Now imagine that same destroyer aiming at our IPAD... We are fairly of the opinion that the IPAD will just roll over, whimper, and exhale some foul smelling vapors... and be done with it.  Never to be aware of its own "humanity" never to grow old with grace, never to be such a thoughtfully provoking, and wonderfully cherished gift as this edition. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

1991 Everyman's Library Alfred A. Knopf MOBY DICK


The nicest things can come in plain packages. Things with little embellishments, little fan fare, modest statements. This edition is such a thing. The red cloth binding, with a small hint of gold and elegant typeset on the cover, is understated. The overall impression is one of quiet reserve, grace and charm.

Individual people, too, can be unassuming and full of quiet reserve, grace and charm. The best ones become friends and most often are those who don't even know their true nature and strength. 
  • Chapter 86 The Tail  ....Real strength never impairs beauty or harmony, but it often bestows it; and in everything imposingly beautiful, strength has much to do with the magic.

Alas, we own an Ipad, it has proven very useful, for watching movies, for writing and reading emails, for surfing the web. We downloaded on to the Ipad both Beethoven's 1st symphony and the Missa Solemnis, which are imposingly beautiful but sound less so on the tiny speakers. This ipad will never be beautiful and no doubt it will be recycled soon. Reading a novel on it may prove rewarding, but never long lasting.

This volume is imposingly beautiful and hence is endowed with real strength and thus the magic of Melville's words radiate from the page. And this volume is long lasting. As long lasting as ours and Beethoven's Unsterbliche Geliebte.



Sunday, April 29, 2012

2007 Longman Critical Edition MOBY DICK

The MDC has received over the last few months a bevy of new editions, and hence we are a bit behind.

This is the fascinating Longman Critical Edition. Fascinating in that the editors have pieced together a treasure trove.  We hate to use trite sayings like treasure trove, but really this is a fun book.  The text as Melville saw in print in 1851 and on page displays of the revisions made over the years. And Explanatory Notes in the aft add beef to an already beefy product.

The cover art by Geoge Klauba is nothing short of wicked awesome. No, it is wicked awesome, in a Norman Rockwellien style Ahab's boat is screaming heavenly, a jumble of arms and legs with peg leg himself (right legged) leading the way. 

Chapter 53 The Gam

A social meeting of two (or more) Whale-ships, generally on a cruising ground, when, after exchanging hails, they exchange visits by boat's crews

Last week was a big week here at TMDC, it was BP's birthday and as such he held a GAM. Everyone was there: Starbuck, Subb, Flask, Pip, yes the harpooners, and all the rest of the crew.

Is BP Ahab? We are not too sure, we suspect so, but we know who all the other players are, and they may or may not know the roles that have been assigned to them...

MOBY DICK is too much fun!

Monday, April 9, 2012

This Summer at Arrowhead

The Moby Dick Collection has been invited to participate in this summer's special event at Arrowhead, H. Melville's Pittsfield home. The Title of Arrowhead's program is "The Power of Genius: Landscape and Inspiration" The theme is to highlight Melville's inspiration for writing from the landscape around him and is part of the City of Pittsfield's Office of Cultural Development outdoor art extravaganza "Call Me Melville".

I will be bringing part of the collection for display and giving a talk on it, but excitingly as well, I have been asked to execute a painting on the grounds.  Landscape painting is my passion. How cool is this? Awesome right? and since its Massachusetts: "Wicked awesome".

I take inspiration from the landscape around my home in Albany New York, and from the Hudson River School. The above painting is an example of my work. So I could not think of any better way to spend a weekend this summer, except perhaps at daughter Sarah's wedding in June. Yep, look for another wedding speech coming up.....

The dates and times and logistics are still being worked out, but I am thrilled and humbled at the invitation and have accepted gladly.




Friday, March 23, 2012

1928 Pickwick Publishers Romances of Herman Melville





The Moby Dick Collection was conceived to contain only editions of the novel, not abridged, not children's, and not compliations of Melville's works. That said here is just such a compilation. TMDC is meant to be a conundrum. A collection of contradictions.

It struck us as odd: The Romances of Herman Melville.  At first one might suspect that this volumn is the story of the daliances of Mr. Melville's amorous side but actually this book are his adventure stories, sagas of journeys, sea stories, not the fluff of love: flowers and chocolates, hearts and arrows. Yet as we thought more about that title we asked ourselves: what is love but if not an adventure, what is romance then but the love of life and its journey, long or short, often altruistic and in the company of someone we would be honored to spend time with. So we bought the book.

Seven Melville works from Typee to Redburn, each in its entirety. And of course Moby-Dick. Each a memory of an adventure, a journey worth living thru the reading.


And what a treasure this book is: seriously heavy, thick, soft leather covers, golden edged paper, and luscious illustrations. The book itself is a metaphor for romance: serious, heavy, thick, soft, golden and luscious. How many romances have we had? Seven? Eight? Each one an adventure, each one worth the memories.

Chapter 125

... man, though idiotic, and knowing not what he does, yet full of the sweet things of love and gratitude.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

1969 Dell Publishing Moby Dick

We get very excited when we come upon a used book that is inscribed with the owners name and is underlined. Here is proof of someone's journey with Melville hand in hand. Alas we only see a last name on the inside cover: Highomirk. Perhaps.. a bit illegible. There are pencil underlinings and pen underlining from the first page on, as our intrepid reader moves thru the story. Even there are random notes in the margin, ie "white - all color, no color". And then there it is on page 360 of the 608 pages, a line noting a conversation between Stubb and Flask, it being the last marginality. Here is the point our reader stopped. 

On the Epilogue page is a small blue pen circle about 1/8 of an inch filled in. A doodle not doubt created as he read the page just to get the gist of what he missed in between, a short cut for sure. Could he have been satisfied with that effort?

Chapter CXXXV The Chase Third Day

Oh! my God! what is this that shoots through me, and leaves me so deadly calm, yet expectant, - fixed at the top of a shudder! Future things swim before me, as in empty outlines and skeletons; all the past is somehow grown dim.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

1931 Bonibooks Paper Back Moby-Dick

The earliest paper back in the collection, the 1931Albert and Charles Boni printing, is hard to find in any condition and commands a premium. It is lavishly illustrated with woodcuts by Howard Simon.  This copy is inscribed by Marianne Morrill.
Chapter LXXXI

Stubb speaks:

 "We all know what an astonishing atmospheric weight we ourselves stand up under; even here, above-ground, in the air; how vast, then, the burden of a whale, bearing on his back a column of two hundred fathoms of ocean! It must at least equal the weight of fifty atmospheres. "

The weight of the column of water on a whale's back is huge, but for the whale it is nothing. It is a trick, however, since the pressures are offset by natural mechanics. Something we humans all do naturally as well. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

2011 Harper Perennial Classics MOBY-DICK

The 2011 Harper Perennial, worn and read, good for the first owner, name lost, purchased by the Collection from the GOODWILL of Middle Tennessee, landlocked for sure, yet whomever had use of the book, travelled the world thru Melville's pages.

Chapter 99

Stubb soliloquized the signs of the zodiac from Bowditch, the well known and well used almanac we all carried on board our Pequods, small and large:

Virgo, the Virgin! that's our first love; we marry and think to be happy for aye, when pop comes Libra, or the Scales - happiness weighed and found wanting; and while we are very sad about that, Lord! how we suddenly jump, as Scorpio, or the Scorpion, stings us in the rear...




Tuesday, January 24, 2012

1937 Garden City Publishing Co. Moby-Dick


Rockwell Kent is by far the best known of the Moby-Dick illustrators, and there are multiple editions that feature his remarkable work.  The Garden City deluxe edition has eluded us for many years. So happy we are to have recently scored this copy. 

Chapter 49

Ishmael, and the rest of the crew have topped off their last wills and testaments, and are preparing for the future:

Now then, thought I, unconsciously rolling up the sleeves of my frock, here goes for a cool, collected dive at death and destruction, and the devil fetch the hindmost.

The future can no longer wait, its time to move on to things put off too long.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

1962 Romanian Language Moby-Dick


Numiti-ma Ishmael

Recently added to the Collection is this 1961 Romanian edition. Translated by Serban Andronescu, with piece of doubtful cover art. Moby-Dick was never a baleen whale. 

There is a copyright on the inside title J. M. Dent, 1939, London which indicates the source.

A small piece of the title page has been carefully cut out. Since Romania was, during the 60's and thru the revolution of 1989, somewhat of a police state, one can imagine all sorts of reasons why someone who put their name in a book, would suddenly not want their name in any book.

Chapter 51 

Close to our bows, strange forms in the water darted hither and thither before us, while thick in our rear flew the inscrutable sea-ravens. 

In 1965, when the pages of this book were still white not the decaying brown the cheap paper is now, the Editor sailed from Charleston SC to the Bahamas, on board TABOR BOY (http://www.taborboy.org/) , the 110 foot schooner of the school of the same name. Along with 30 other preps, we each had to take our turn at the watch, and the midnight dog watch was our favorite. How clear we remember the night a solitary form swam deliberately past our bows, outlined only by the phosperesance trail, huge, strange, unknown, perhaps a whale, perhaps a shark of enormous size.  The Spirit Sprout 


Friday, January 6, 2012

1981 University of California Press - Arion Press Moby Dick

 

Much sought after, the Arion Press Moby Dick, illustrated by Barry Mosher, is a treat. The type face is big and juicy and easy to read, the size of the book is solid, befitting a novel of such weight, and the illustrations are delicate and accessible. 

There are four copies in the collection, a 1981 hardcover, and three soft cover, one unread (6th printing, courtesy of Tim, a fan of this blog), one read (2nd reprinting), and the small sized one, (1st 1983 printing), which we use as a reading copy.

Chapter 87

... under the influence of that strange perplexity of inert irresolution...

Melville has a way of seeing a precise moment of time.

Sitting in amongst the giant pod of whales, which had ceased its commotion, all waited for the next move.  Here is a silent stillness as whales and men pause.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Book Club January 2, 2012 | by Jason Diamond (via)

"Walter Benjamin wrote that in an era when everything was reproduced, nothing had the aura of originality. Now, most men’s clothing is made en masse—and we find ourselves missing the hand stitched. Likewise, many of our libraries consist only of e-books—and our old paperbacks seem to posses a one-of-a kind personality." 

The Book Club January 2, 2012 | by Jason Diamond  suggested by LG



Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Holiday Season

 

We were fortunate to spend the Christmas weekend in NYC with the Brooklyn branch of the family, staying at the sister's Central Park West apartment while she was staying in her Colorado home. (sounds so much bigger than it really is, we are, after all, humble folk)

While on a bit of free time, we went to the McNally Jackson Bookstore, and went right to the M section. It reminds us of the beauty of the printed book. The cover art, the binding, the feel of the page, the diversity of the editions, all are value added by the publishers. Some might question the worth of these endeavors, but not those folks whose livelyhood derives from this work. It may seem a small thing, but generations to come will be able to hold in their hands this work. 

Have a happy Holiday from TMDC!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Presentation at Emma Willard School

Last night we spent an hour at Emma Willard School, with a display of some of the collections highlights.

After a short talk, (below) the students in a question and answer period asked fabulous questions... truly a motivated and intelligent bunch.

"Have you read all the foreign language books?" one young lady asked. "Ha, no, sadly I can't read them. Like who reads Icelandic?"  The whole place erupted in laughter since the joke was on me, the young lady proved to be Icelandic. How utterly ironic.


Thanks to all involved for putting together this evening, it was an exciting and fun time!


Text of the talk:


“I write my name in books”

The Moby Dick Collection

Moby Dick was first published in 1851. There were perhaps 4 printings in the 1800’s. During  the 20th centurary there have been hundreds and hundreds.  I set out to collect them all.

My first copy was my boarding school copy. I was assigned to be read it in junior english lit. I didn’t read it. What are you nuts. It was ridiculously long, there was a lot of other work to be done and I didn’t have time to read the book, plus absolutly everyone said it was boring.

However, after graduating I kept all my books from school. Dragged them all over the place. And IN 1986 at the age of 36 I decided that was the year to read all those books I was supposed to read and didn’t. I read Jude the obscure, catcher in the rye etc.

That summer a business trip took me to Japan so I grabbed Moby Dick on the way out of the door to the cab.  The flight was like 20 hours so I read it on the plane,  found it very funny, amusing, Melville had the driest of sense of humor.  Some of that shows in Bartlby.

In  albany,  there was for many years a neat used book store around the corner. So I would buy my books there.   At some point I bought an illustrated moby. that gave me 2 copies… eventually I bought a sweet old leather bound one. And then one that was heavily underlined and read hard. I bought that.  Soon I had seven or eight different ones.

My son finally noticed my book shelf of MD s and asked me why I had so many and I said because I can….

It was then that I recognized that this was a collection, and I asked myself why don’t I see how many there are and how many can I buy.

Thru the internet I found that there were editions in foreign languages. I bought one, then two then

Many many

My only regret at this point is that I did not buy the Braile copy. Some day I will.

Soon an obsession was born.   I admit its weird … odd … unusual… I am unaware of any one else collecting just the same book in all the different printings, paper back hard cover. Forieghn language.

Often I am asked: isnt it all the same words? 

There are copies from every decade of the 1900’s there are about 200 different copies, there are  copies in Italian, chinese, japanese, icelandic, lituatian, dutch, german, spanish, french, check, and russian.

Some are illustrated some are not.

These are interesting to see how the illustrator chooses to depict Ahab, or Queguee.

The used ones are very interesting when there is underlining and notations. They gernerally are school copies.   You can see exactlay where the reader stopped reading. Sometimes you can find out what school they went to

They signed the inside cover and often put their put a dorm room under their name.  Google searching the dorm always brings up the school, cross referencing the alumni function you can find out what year and some times who the english prof was.  Sometimes the google search brings up the reader himself…. You find out where they are or what they did for a career. . . All because they wrote their name and dorm on the inside cover.

Now I have a collection of books that is unique.   You cant do this with a kindle…
The kindle is an electronic device assembled by machines,  that by its nature of impending obsolesence longs for the land fill, in a single object it can hold hundreds of books, that have a half life of just years, while a book is the product of hundreds of skilled craftspeople in addition to the author, the illustrator, the printer, the binder….  In its being it longs to be held by generations of readers who appreciate the combined efforts of that production team.


Bartleby is a story about free will.  Bartleyby exercises his free will by “perfering not to.” A negative free will.


I prefered not to read Moby Dick when it was assigned, what the conscquenses of that decesioin at the time were, must have been minor, I don’t remember.    But decades later that decision not to read the book turned around and I decided read it then.   And from that came a decision to buy more and more until The New York Times came to me to use some of them for their Sunday book review, and someone here at Emma saw that and asked me to come here and talk to you … and thus, my decision to prefer not to read moby dick in 1967 resulted me in talking to you today. 

 Here is my  copy of Bartleby,:  Great Short Stories of Herman Melville, 1969 

Who ever owned it once underlined and noted Bartleby… used two different pens…. From his phaseing he was not the first owner….  “narrator going wacko”  not the way we would have said that in 1969.

I only wish he had signed his name inside this book…  we will never know him..

By the way :  “Why DO we read?”

I like what Anthony Hopkins said in the movie “Shadowlands”, a movie about the life and love of C. S. Lewis, author of the Narnia Chronicles.   He said

We read to know that we arent alone.

We read to know that we arent alone.

Reading is a very very intimate process, between ourselves and the author. when you are reading you are talking with, maybe not a two way conversation but you are in the mind of the author.

I can be siting in my chair book in hand, my friends gone, my children living in boston and brooklyn, utterly and solidly alone, as if its the night before leaving school for christmas holiday, not a sole around I begin to read, and I am no longer alone,

Many many books have shown me ways  of life. When I read I see how someone does something , how someone reacts to loneliness, how they cope with despair  or how they find joy in the simplest things.  With a book you can stop and re read and think and absorb.

Why do we read ? We read so we know we arent alone.

Melvile wrote Bartley at Arrowhead, his farm outside of Pittsfield Mass.  Not 50 miles from here. in 1853, two years after he wrote Moby Dick .  that was 5 or 6 generations, ago


Page 50

The narrator is just getting to know this stange weirdo Bartley.
HE says:

“He lives, then, on ginger nuts, thought I; never eats a dinner properly speaking: he must be a vegetarian, then, but no; he never eats even vegetables he eats nothing but ginger-nuts.”

you’re a vegitarian You read these lines,  you know you are not alone, 150 years ago, people ate vegatarianly.  They have been doing it all along.  So you can go home and say Dad Im a vegitarian skip the turkey, - you become a bit more of a person. Slowly building internal strength. From reading…

Keep your books, write you name in them proudly… and give your kindle to you little sister, she’ll love you for it, till she figures out the brillance of why you gave her the kindle and you kept the books,  and then she’ll idolize you. ..


Thanks



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Gifts for the Holiday Season

Last Christmas, The Duchess gave us a tee shirt with the cover of the Rockwell Kent edition on it. 

This year we thought that was such a good idea that we searched the internet for some Moby Dick themed gifts for the holiday season.. HAHA  Enjoy, 

My only regret this season is that Olympia is sold out...S, my daughter, who is getting married in June, needs a new clutch.

A hand bag, from Olympia Le-tan    Alas its sold out.   1140 euros!  yikes...
 Its hot stuff but should it be?  Someone else did the book jacket design ... thanks to LG for the tip.


















A hoodie, and much more affordable.$45... from Miles to go


From the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Bow Ties!!!! $26.00
 
Matt Kish's One Drawing for every page... Amazon