Moby Dick or the White Whale - Herman Melville, Mead Schaeffer (illustrator) 1923 - Dodd, New York - First Edition illustrated by Schaeffer A finely bound copy, illustrated with twelve full page colour plates and additional illustrated title page by the 24 year old Mead Schaeffer in 1922, Schaeffer went on to illustrate a further 15 classics for Dodd, Mead.

The story of an eerily compelling madman pursuing an unholy war against a creature as vast and dangerous and unknowable as the sea itself.
Moby Dick is a haunting, mesmerising, and important social commentary populated with several of the most unforgettable and enduring characters in literature. Written with wonderfully redemptive humour, this is a profound and timeless inquiry into character, faith, and the nature of perception.

'Melville's lyricism, so redolent of Shakespeare's, thrives on the four elements. He blends Scripture and the sea, the music of the waves and the heavenly bodies, the poetry of the everyday and a grandeur of Atlantic proportions.' – Albert Camus.
  Herman Melville [1819-91] was born in New York City to wealthy parents of New English and Dutch origin. When his father died a bankrupt, Melville left school, aged 12, to work as a bank clerk. He attended night school and became a teacher before signing on as a merchant seaman. In 1841, he boarded the whaling ship Acushnet. After a year and a half, Melville jumped ship and spent a month among a tribe in the Marquesas Islands, before making his way home via Hawaii and Peru. In New York, he married and published several novels, to instant success. His meeting with Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1850, while he was writing Moby-Dick, was a pivotal moment and filled him with inspiration. Moby-Dick’s reception was mixed, and his following novel Pierre was a failure. Melville's reputation faded, and his later years were shadowed by his son's suicide and his own ill-health. He worked as an inspector in the New York Customs House for nearly 20 years until his death in 1891

‘Mead Schaeffer [1898-1980] was a Golden Age illustrator whose work evoked a lush world of drama, intrigue, and romance. His early oil canvases are reminiscent of N.C. Wyeth, Dean Cornwell, and his teacher, Harvey Dunn, which makes him a grand student of Howard Pyle. In his paintings for the 1928 edition of
The Count of Monte Cristo, he distinguished himself with his carefully composed shapes of tonal values, his handling of light, and his treatment of color. In his long career, his style evolved with the times, becoming more photographic and more concerned with contemporary themes. He was good friends with Norman Rockwell, who lived in the same town of Arlington, Vermont. He was active during World War II as a war correspondent, and several of his 46 Saturday Evening Post covers showed men in uniform.’ – James Gurney, Gurney Journey [.com].

Quarto (binding size 23.8x18.5cm), pp. [12] 540 [6].
  Finely bound in three quarter navy morocco over matching cloth, spine lettered ruled and decorated in gilt, top edge gilt, others trimmed, marbled endpapers.   Condition: Fine in fine binding   Ref: 110137   Price: HK$ 3,500