Israel Potter

Cloth Text – $120.00

ISBN 978-0-8101-0552-2

Paper Text – $55.00

ISBN 978-0-8101-0553-9
Publication Date
January 1982
Page Count
401 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Israel Potter

His Fifty Years of Exile, Volume Eight, Scholarly Edition
Herman Melville

Unique among Melville's works, Israel Potter was the author's only historical novel, presuming to offer the life history of Revolutionary War figure Israel Potter--based on Potter's own obscure narrative Life and Remarkable Adventures of Israel R. Potter--and featuring characters such as Benjamin Franklin and Ethan Allen. In offering the manuscript to his publisher, Melville assured him, "I engage that the story shall contain nothing of any sort to shock the fastidious. There will be very little reflective writing in it; nothing weighty. It is adventure." This came as a relief, for his previous novel, Pierre, had shocked readers and brought down universal castigation.

This scholarly edition presents a text as close to the author's intention as surviving evidence permits. Based on collations of the original text from Putnam magazine with several impressions of the book edition, it also incorporates emendations made by the present editors. Added features include a photofacsimile of the Life and Remarkable Adventures and a newly discovered portrait of Israel Potter. This edition is an Approved Text of the Center for Editions of American Authors (Modern Language Association of America).

About the Author

Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. He is best known for his novel Moby-Dick. His first three books gained much contemporary attention (the first, Typee, becoming a bestseller), and after a fast-blooming literary success in the late 1840s, his popularity declined precipitously in the mid-1850s and never recovered during his lifetime. When he died in 1891, he was almost completely forgotten. It was not until the "Melville Revival" in the early 20th century that his work won recognition, especially Moby-Dick, which was hailed as one of the literary masterpieces of both American and world literature. He was the first writer to have his works collected and published by the Library of America.