Thursday, February 24, 2011

1907 J. M. Dent Edition of MOBY - DICK

It is generally accepted that the horrific events of World War I, the social changes of the 1920's and the "Melville Revival", all contributed to the success of Moby-Dick as a great novel in the 20th century.

The reading public found in Ahab a kind of kindred spirit in his hopeless obsession and ultimate personal destruction. This spirit mirrored the excesses of both modern warfare and new social mores.

It is well known that Moby-Dick was a literary flop in the nineteenth century, and editions are limited to the first printing run that failed to sell out during Melville's lifetime, and the 1892 edition, also scarce. What saved Moby-Dick from the landfill of history, could be argued, was the industrial revolution of the post Civil War era. As society was given more and more free and leisure time, society filled that time with new and wonderful endeavors, first and foremost was education, schooling replaced milking the cows. Schooling begat financial success and when faced with financial success folks wanted to show that off in their home, so the bookshelves needed to be filled with rows of matching books.

Enter J. M. Dent, an English publisher, who in 1904 began to plan the Everyman's Library. In 1906 he published 152 titles, Moby - Dick was included in 1907. So there it sat for about ten more years still unread, but on a whole lot more shelves in a whole lot more homes than it would have, had Mr. Dent not needed to fill out his offerings... Moby Dick sat on library shelves waiting for the intersection of war, flappers and the Melville Revival.

Feel free to comment, if you have anything you want to add to this or too take issue with what I have stated... Always welcome debate!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Putting Together the Exhibit

Yesterday I dropped off some of the Moby Dick Collection at the University at Albany Library to begin putting together the exhibit of these books.

We are going to highlight the foreign language books and the illustrations of Ahab.

Much thanks go to Lorre Smith of the University for helping me gather my thoughts.

Email me at billpettit at sign mac dot com and I will let you know when the display is installed. At this moment I am not sure how long it will be up. It will open March 14 and at least 2 weeks it will be up, perhaps longer.

Thanks everyone...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Foreign Language Texts - MOBY DICK - Japanese

The Japanese edition, earlier post, broken into 2 volumes, has a great feel with a soft and subtle touch.

Leon Ingulsrud directed Moby-Dick the play in Japan in 2001.

Pictured here is chapter 9, the sermon, as other posts, the hymn.

Each edition in the collection, is unique, individual, distinct. As a composite the collection, is as if its a pod of whales. Could the netbook, IPAD, Kindle, Nook provide such a similar herd of works.... ?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Foreign Language Texts - MOBY DICK - Chinese

In a previous post, the Chinese Language Moby Dick was described. Here is an example of the text of the Hymn in chapter 9, The Sermon, also separately discussed in a previous post.

This is an example of the left to right typesetting of the Chinese characters, the next post will highlight the top to bottom typesetting of the Japanese edition in the collection.

There are several other text example posts that are labeled such.

WARNING: Hugh solar flair, lock up you IPAD

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

1974 Estonian Language Moby-Dick

Moby Dick
Minetage mind Ismaeliks.

Printed with a heavy hand, the 1974 Estonian edition of Moby-Dick, feels like it was letter pressed. Perhaps in the Soviet era it was. The feel of the paper, the tightness of the binding, the crispness of the size, makes this an enjoyable book to hold in the hand.

Marked: Kirjastus eeti raamat="" Tallinn

Translated by Juhan Lohk, whom apparently via an internet search translated a host of classic literature into Estonian.

Monday, February 14, 2011

1994 The Young Collector's Illustrated Classics Moby Dick

The Young Collector's Illustrated Classic is an abridged big type confection brought to the public by Kidsbooks, Inc.

There is no indication as to who the illustrator was, the graphics are by and large bounded by a solid boarder, but this portrait of a right peg legged Ahab, has elements extending to the very edge of the paper, to what purpose, I have no idea.

Head gear is fast becoming an item of interest to me, as Ahab's cover has has some foreshadowing of WWII German naval attire.

And truly his peg leg is just that a peg!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

1989 Reader's Digest Moby-Dick

The 1989 edition of Moby-Dick is Readers' Digest's offering. The Reader's Digest is a magazine company and book publishing focused on condensed versions but this series seems to be full length.

The illustrator of this edition, Joseph Ciardiello, has the distinction of being the first of the illustrators of Moby-Dick with his own website.

Ahab is a left pegged, Lincolnish bearded, hatted, old salt. I believe, in this view, he is looking aft, judging by the lean of the rigging, perhaps looking towards a home he knows he will never see again.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

1976 Moby-Dick, Norton & Company

Its so interesting to me how many of the illustrators that we have run across in our Ahab portrait study, have a connection to the Art Students League in New York City.

Warren Chappell, who illustrated the Norton edition of Moby-Dick, (see earlier post) studied and taught there.

His Ahab is a left legged fellow, whose peg leg is somewhat elegant and thin. The pea coat, floppy hat and beard give him a salt look.

Also interesting is the fact that there is no hint in this image or any of the other numerous images of Ahab in the book, of a psycological storm brewing. He seems oddly an everyman Ahab.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

1962, The Macmillan Company Edition, Moby-Dick

Robert Shore is an american illustrator, studied at the Art Students League, and instructed at Cooper Union, whom has illustrated Heart of Darkness, Benito Cereno as well as this edition of Moby-Dick.

This edition is ExLib from the Metropolitan Dade County

The image of Ahab is haunting as he is holding a harpoon and wearing a bowler, yet the peg leg is so pronounced.

As I am posting, so many interesting facts and future posts come to mind. For instance: Right or Left leg? The majority of the posts of Ahab, so far, show him to have his peg leg on his right leg. I have no time today to refer to the text to see if Melville says right or left? Perhaps someone can comment? Thanks...