Mardi: and A Voyage Thither

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Author: Melville, Herman (1819–1891)

Year: 1849

Publisher: Harper & Brothers

Place: New York


2 volumes. [xii]-365 pages; [xii]-387+[8 ad] pages. Small octavo (7 1/2" x 5 1/4") Original blindstamped plum cloth, gilt title to spines, Harpers gilt logo at base of spine with yellow coated endpapers in a three quarter leather with marbled boards slipcase. (BAL 13658) First American edition.

Mardi (the Polynesian word meaning "the world") is Melville's first pure fiction work (while featuring fictional narrators, his previous novels were heavily autobiographical). It details (much like Typee and Omoo) the travelings of an American sailor who abandons his whaling vessel to explore the South Pacific. Unlike the first two, however, Mardi is highly philosophical and said to be the first work to show Melville's true potential. The tale begins as a simple narrative, but quickly focuses upon discourse between the main characters and their interactions with the different symbolic countries they encounter. While not as cohesive or lengthy as Moby-Dick, it shares a similar writing style as well as many of the same themes.


Plumb coloring has faded and spine sunned with gilt dulled, some foxing through out, corners bumped with some light rubbing, previous owner's name in pencil on title else about very good in a fine slipcase.

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