Peche Française de la Baleine, dans les mers du Sud en 1829. FRENCH WHALING, ANONYMOUS, Jules ? LECOMTE.
Peche Française de la Baleine, dans les mers du Sud en 1829.
Peche Française de la Baleine, dans les mers du Sud en 1829.

Peche Française de la Baleine, dans les mers du Sud en 1829.
Peche Française de la Baleine, dans les mers du Sud en 1829.

Le Havre: chez Hue Libraire, 1829.

Octavo, [iv], 56 pp.; with two fine lithograph plates, one folding; period-style French marbled boards.

Whaling in the southern ocean

Whaling in the southern ocean: a very scarce special printing. This is a separately paginated offprint, in other words partly reset from the periodical in which it appeared, and has its own title-page and table of contents with appropriate references to the renumbered pages: such printings were typically produced for an author's allotment of copies and are often distinctly rare owing to the small quantities in which they were usually prepared. Vaucaire (Histoire de la pêche à baleine, Paris, 1914) does not record this, nor does Polak (Bibliographie Maritime française) who does however list the periodical for which the article was written, Le Navigateur, Journal des naufrages et des autres événements nautiques, a periodical published in several monthly issues in Le Havre by a "Société de marins" during the year 1829: this long piece appeared in the sixth issue. The two fine lithographs – printed by Periaux in Rouen – depict a Cachalot whale and a "baleine franche" while the larger folding plate, "Pêche de la Baleine", shows an ocean with several whalers under full sail with whales, divulging their location by spouting, being hunted by harpoonist and crew in a longboat.

Whaling in the southern ocean: a very scarce special printing. This is a separately paginated offprint, in other words partly reset from the periodical in which it appeared, and has its own title-page and table of contents with appropriate references to the renumbered pages: such printings were typically produced for an author's allotment of copies and are often distinctly rare owing to the small quantities in which they were usually prepared. Vaucaire (Histoire de la pêche à baleine, Paris, 1914) does not record this, nor does Polak (Bibliographie Maritime française) who does however list the periodical for which the article was written, Le Navigateur, Journal des naufrages et des autres événements nautiques, a periodical published in several monthly issues in Le Havre by a "Société de marins" during the year 1829: this long piece appeared in the sixth issue. The two fine lithographs – printed by Periaux in Rouen – depict a Cachalot whale and a "baleine franche" while the larger folding plate, "Pêche de la Baleine", shows an ocean with several whalers under full sail with whales, divulging their location by spouting, being hunted by harpoonist and crew in a longboat.

Although published anonymously, we suspect that the author of this very interesting piece may have been another resident of Le Havre with a close interest in south seas whaling, Jules Lecomte. The son of a naval officer, he travelled widely throughout the world but around 1832 abandoned his sea-going career and turned to writing. Melville was familiar with his work and Lecomte's description of the great white whale was one of the principal sources for Moby Dick. His similarly-titled Pratique de la pêche de la Baleine dans les mers du sud, which was also published in Le Havre four years after this work, gives essential details for the preparation of a whaling expedition and examines the different species of whales, the best fishing regions and ways to approach and capture the whales. He also wrote specifically on the Baleine franche, the species illustrated here, for Le france Maritime of 1837

Not in Jenkins; Polak, Bibliographie maritime Française, 6955 ("Le Navigateur" periodical publication).

Price (AUD): $3,600.00  other currencies Ref: #4504200

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