A monthly series of bibliography- or book-related links recommended by members of the Society’s Council, initiated by Margaret Ford, Past President.
Earlier posts can be found at Council’s Choice.
The Melville Electronic Library
The parts of the Melville Electronic Library which may be of particular interest to bibliographers [who will already be aware of the author’s system of classification of whales from folio to duodecimo, in Chapter 32] are the ‘Model Editions’ including the side-by-side Moby-Dick comparing the British and American first editions of Herman Melville’s 1851 novel.
The parallel page images of these two ‘first’ editions, which appeared months apart, as well as a digital transcription with pop-up ‘Revision Narratives’ on screen, offer objects on which to hang discussions of copyright, piracy, typesetting, stereotyping, authorial revision, editorial intervention, paratextual elements (including the changed title), and reader responses. While modern readers too often put the book down unfinished, readers of the British first edition could not read the complete book even if they tried, as it lacked the ‘Epilogue’ describing the fate of Ishmael after the disastrous meeting of the ship Pequod and the white whale.
Apart from a wealth of material appealing directly to Melvillites, general users of MEL will find a ‘Tool Kit’ pointing to digital resources for editing and collating sources.
Alexandra Franklin, Council member