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About the Melville Press

The Melville Press is a small private press dedicated to producing fine illustrated limited editions. The Melville Press was born from a passion for Melville’s work, and is devoted to publishing books  which capture the spirit of voyaging and the sea.


The Melville Press’ first publication, CETUS, The Whale; an Illustrated Companion to Moby Dick was honored with a Rounce and Coffin Award  for excellence in book design. The book traveled to academic and public libraries throughout the United States in the Western Books Exhibition. CETUS has also appeared in Artistbook International; an exhibition of fine contemporary books from around the world.


Prayers Written at Vailima, The Melville Press' second edition received a Rounce & Coffin Award. This edition of Stevenson's remarkable text was the first new interpretation published in the U.S. for more than forty years. Catherine Kanner designed Prayers with a Polynesian motif, and created 21 original linoleum cut images for the book. The edition has been acquired by libraries and museums internationally.


The Melville Press is honored to have acquired the rights to a remarkable short story by Dylan Thomas, In the Direction of the Beginning. Originally published in A Prospect of the Sea in 1939,  it is story of love and the sea in the form of a powerful prose poem. Kanner has designed the book on a generous scale with an elegant self-closing cover. The edition includes nine striking linoleum cut images printed directly from the blocks. Winner of a Rounce & Coffin Award  for excellence in book design.


The books of The Melville Press have been acquired by many university special collections libraries.

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A new edition will be announced in 2023.

Catherine Kanner

Catherine Kanner is founder of The Melville Press. Her work as an artist and book designer have garnered awards and praise both nationally and internationally.


Ms. Kanner’s talents as an artist were unfailing and the books published by the Melville Press...demonstrate highly innovative book design and superb choices with regard to selection of papers and materials. Although this appears at first glance to be a small, innocuous private is anything but. The book design [Prayers Written at Vailima] is superb and every detail has been carefully considered and executed. In reality, despite its ‘Little Treat’ size this is a private press book of the highest caliber..” – The LibraryThing


Has Kanner finally managed to capture the ultimate imagining of Ahab? I’ll let each person judge for themself. But for me she has done it, with one side of his face blurring into the darkness that engulfs him and the crew as he seeks a very un-Quaker-like revenge.” J. Davis, The Whole Book Experience


Kanner has designed/illustrated/written more than 40 editions for additional publishers including Knopf, Ballantine Books, Scholastic, Little Brown and more.

LEARN MORE about Catherine Kanner

Catherine Kanner Publisher
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