New York: G.P. Putnam & Col, 1854-1855. Scarce. The first appearance of Israel Potter, Melville’s novel about the Revolutionary War, was published in six parts in Putnam’s Magazine between July 1854 - March 1855. It was published in book form in March 1855. Loosely based on a real person, Israel Potter recounts the life of a young American who fights in the Revolution, is captured at sea by the British Navy, and has a series of adventures in England involving King George III, Benjamin Franklin, John Paul Jones, and Ethan Allen. The work ends sadly, with Potter exiled in poverty in England for fifty years, finally returning to America shortly before his death. The book was a commercial failure in its time but garnered critical appreciation. Volume IV also includes Melville’s “The Lightning-Rod Man.” Both volumes are bound in the original green cloth with embossed designs to covers and gilt titling to spine. Volume IV is stained, bumped, and rubbed, with faded gilt design and titling to spine. Remnants of spine label, hole in back cover not affecting interior and small tears to joint. Ownership stamp of D.F. Tillinghast to front and rear pastedowns. Interior pages clean and bright with age darkening to some pages. Covers of Volume V have soiling and bumping. Foxing to endpapers and occasional light foxing to text pages but otherwise clean and bright. Overall in very good condition. Volume IV: 672 pages; Volume V: 668 pages. LIT/.
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