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Herman Melville


Herman Melville Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Herman Melville's brilliant works remain vital and provocative for their dark ebullience and visionary power. The sweep of his writings-encompassing ferocious social satire, agonized reflection, and formal experimentation-is represented in this comprehensive edition. Here are Melville's masterpieces: Moby-Dick in its entirety; Billy Budd; "Bartleby, The Scrivener"; "The Encantadas, or Enchanted Isles"; the essay "Hawthorne and His Mosses"; and 21 poems, including "The House-top," an anguished response to the New York draft riots.


Includes bibliographical references.

About the Author

Herman Melville was born in August 1, 1819, in New York City, the son of a merchant. Only twelve when his father died bankrupt, young Herman tried work as a bank clerk, as a cabin-boy on a trip to Liverpool, and as an elementary schoolteacher, before shipping in January 1841 on the whaler Acushnet, bound for the Pacific. Deserting ship the following year in the Marquesas, he made his way to Tahiti and Honolulu, returning as ordinary seaman on the frigate United States to Boston, where he was discharged in October 1844. Books based on these adventures won him immediate success. By 1850 he was married, had acquired a farm near Pittsfield, Massachussetts (where he was the impetuous friend and neighbor of Nathaniel Hawthorne), and was hard at work on his masterpiece Moby-Dick.

Literary success soon faded; his complexity increasingly alienated readers. After a visit to the Holy Land in January 1857, he turned from writing prose fiction to poetry. In 1863, during the Civil War, he moved back to New York City, where from 1866-1885 he was a deputy inspector in the Custom House, and where, in 1891, he died. A draft of a final prose work, Billy Budd, Sailor, was left unfinished and uncollated, packed tidily away by his widow, where it remained until its rediscovery and publication in 1924.

Table of Contents

Moby-Dick — Bartleby, the scrivener — Benito Cereno — The Encantadas; or, Enchanted Isles — Billy Budd — Hawthorne and his mosses — Selected poems.

Product Details

Tanselle, Thomas
Library of America
Tanselle, G. Thomas
Melville, Herman
Tanselle, G. Thomas
New York, N.Y.
Edition Description:
Mass Market
Library of America college editions
Series Volume:
no. 97-515
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 12
7.77x5.16x1.52 in. 1.49 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

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