21 June 2005
[DAVIS, John (1744-1854)]. The Post-Captain; or, the Wooden Walls Well Manned; Comprehending a View of Naval Society and Manners. London: Thomas Tegg, 1806.
8o (214 x 131 mm). Woodcut vignette of a schooner on title. (Some foxing.) Modern red quarter morocco.
FIRST EDITION OF POSSIBLY THE FIRST ENGLISH-LANGUAGE NAUTICAL NOVEL. A popular sentimental novel that initiates the nautical literary genre, serving as a model for authors such as Frederick Marryat and Frederick Chamier, whose naval adventure stories would become popular in the late nineteenth century. Beginning on page 112 is "The Story of Mr. Keith's Captivity among the American Indians," starting with a trip down the Ohio in 1795. Davis also published The First Settlers of Virginia, an expansion of the popular story of John Smith and Pocahontas published in Davis's Travels (1803). SCARCE: only copies of the later American editions of this work appear in American Book Prices Current in the last thirty years. Ayer Supplement 39; Sadlier 678.
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