Letter of Herman Melville to John Murray, 29 October 1847

Following good reviews of his work from critics, Melville hoped to persuade Murray to pay him more.


Copyright National Library of Scotland

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circumstances I can hardly say with Shylock
that “I am content” — nor would it be a
happy allusion, while thus upon money
matters, likening myself to a Jew. —

Neverthless, in the sale of the book — Omoo —
there was no reservation for the benefit
of the author as in “Typee”—unless there
was one on your own mind — I have
therefore nothing further to say on that
subject. — Now that it strikes
me, do you not think that a third book
would prove more remunerative to both
publisher & author, if got up independant of
your library, in a different style, so as to
command, say, double the price. Afterwards
it might be incoporated into your s
of cheap books — a mere suggestion, which
may go for what it is worth.

With regard to the new book, let
me say that my inclinations lead me to
prefer the imprimatur of “John Murray”
to that of any other London publisher; but at
the same circumstances paramount to
every other consideration, forces me to regard
my literary affairs in a strong pecuniary

Yours, my Dear Sir, Very truly

Herman Melville

John Murray Esq

Oct 29 1847
Melville Herman