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.