Kent, Rockwell. Hard Cover. New York: Random House, 1930. First Edition. Fine / Dust Jacket Included.
Illustrated by Rockwell Kent. First illustrated edition. Publisher's black cloth, decorated and lettered in silver with Kent's Art Nouveau illustration of the whale emerging from the ocean; in the original pictorial dust jacket with Kent's illustration in blue and black, lettered in black. About fine, a few tiny abrasions to the bottom right corner of the front board and previous owner's bookplate to front pastedown, else fine; in a near fine dust jacket with some light rubbing to extremities and faint toning to spine, a few chips to spine head. Overall, a gorgeous copy, rare in the dust jacket. One of the great American novels, Moby Dick is narrated by Ishmael, a sailor on the Pequod. The ship is led by the tyrannical Captain Ahab who is consumed by his thirst for revenge on a ferocious sperm whale named Moby Dick. The novel employs a symbolic use of the color white - an expansion upon Melville's similar symbolism in his 1850 novel White-Jacket. Melville wrote Moby Dick as his friendship with fellow American Renaissance author Nathaniel Hawthorne was developing and dedicated the book to him. In 1926, prolific illustrator and artist Rockwell Kent was commissioned to illustrate Richard Henry Dana, Jr.'s Two Years Before the Mast, but the artist declined, choosing instead to create illustrations for Moby Dick. Kent was given full artistic license, which he used to create a now iconic series of woodcut prints, including the matching covers and dust jacket. After critics rediscovered the text in the 1920s, Rockwell's illustrated edition helped accelerate the renewed appreciation of Moby Dick that established it as a crowning achievement of American Romantic and Renaissance writing.