[Cover title:] The White Whale …

London, R. K. Burt & Co. … 1878.

8vo, pp. 16; small ink-stain to final page, but a good copy in the original pale yellow printed paper wrappers.


US $310€265

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[Cover title:] The White Whale …

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First edition, an account of the white Beluga whale by Henry Lee of the Royal Aquarium in Brighton, specifically of the first such whale successfully transported to England, exhibited for four days in 1877 before its death from pneumonia; and of four further whales transported the following year. The whales belonged to the Canadian showman, ‘the Great Farini’ aka William Leonard Hunt, and formed the cetaceous segment of his show at the Westminster Aquarium.

It may seem odd that there is no mention of Moby Dick (1851), but, quite apart from the book’s dismal failure in Melville’s lifetime, his ‘white whale’ was an albino sperm whale, not a Beluga.

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