Books for your bucks

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

    Recently Viewed clear list

    Q&A | June 8, 2015

    Owen Sheers: IMG Powell's Q&A: Owen Sheers

    Describe your latest book. I Saw a Man is a contemporary novel set between London, New York, Nevada, and Wales. The book opens with Michael Turner,... Continue »
    1. $18.17 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

      I Saw a Man

      Owen Sheers 9780385529075

Qualifying orders ship free.
New Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
16 Local Warehouse Literature- A to Z
9 Remote Warehouse Literature- A to Z

Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life (Penguin Classics)


Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life (Penguin Classics) Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

At one time the most popular of Melville's works, Typee was known as a travelogue that idealized and romanticized a mysterious South Sea island for readers in the ruthless, industrial, "civilized" world of the nineteenth century. But Melville's story of Tommo, the Yankee sailor who enters the flawed Pacific paradise of Nuku Hiva, is also a fast-moving adventure tale, an autobiographical account of the author's own Polynesian stay, an examination of the nature of good and evil, and a frank exploration of sensuality and exotic ritual. This edition of Typee, which reproduces the definitive text and the complete, never-before-published manuscript reading text, includes invaluable explanatory commentary by John Bryant.


Typee is a fast-moving adventure tale, an autobiographical account of the author's Polynesian stay, an examination of the nature of good and evil, and a frank exploration of sensuality and exotic ritual.

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

Typee Introduction by John Bryant

Works Cited and Suggested for Further Reading

A Note on the Text



Chapter 1

The Sea

Longing for Shore

A Land-sick Ship

Destination of the Voyagers

The Marquesas

Adventures of a Missionary's Wife Among the Savages

Characteristic Anecdote of the Queen of Nukuheva

Chapter 2

Passage from the Cruising Ground to the Marquesas

Sleepy times aboard Ship

South Sea Scenery

Land ho!

The French Squadron discovered at Anchor in the Bay of Nukuheva

Strange Pilot

Escort of Canoes

A Flotilla of Cocoa-nuts

Swimming Visitors

The Dolly boarded by them

State of affairs that ensue

Chapter 3

Some Account of the late operations of the French at the Marquesas

Prudent Conduct of the Admiral

Sensation produced by the Arrival of the Strangers

The first Horse seen by the Islanders


Miserable Subterfuge of the French

Digression concerning Tahiti

Seizure of the Island by the Admiral

Spirited Conduct of an English Lady

Chapter 4

State of Affairs aboard the Ship

Contents of her Larder

Length of South Seamen's Voyages

Account of a Flying Whaleman

Determination to Leave the Vessel

The Bay of Nukuheva

The Typees

Invasion of their Valley by Porter


Glen of Tior

Interview between the old King and the French Admiral

Chapter 5

Thoughts previous to attempting an Escape

Toby, a Fellow Sailor, agrees to share the Adventure

Last Night aboard the Ship

Chapter 6

A Specimen of Nautical Oratory

Criticisms of the Sailors

The Starboard Watch are given a Holiday

The Escape to the Mountains

Chapter 7

The other side of the Mountain


Inventory of Articles brought from the Ship

Division of the Stock of Bread

Appearance of the Interior of the Island

A Discovery

A Ravine and Waterfalls

A sleepless Night

Further Discoveries

My Illness

A Marquesan Landscape

Chapter 8

The Important Question, Typee or Happar?

A Wild-Goose Chace

My Suffering

Disheartening Situation

A Night in a Ravine

Morning Meal

Happy Idea of Toby

Journey towards the Valley

Chapter 9

Perilous Passage of the Ravine

Descent into the Valley

Chapter 10

The Head of the Valley

Cautions Advance

A Path


Discovery of Two of the Natives

Their singular Conduct

Approach towards the inhabited parts of the Vale

Sensation produced by our Appearance

Reception at the House of one of the Natives

Chapter 11

Midnight Reflections

Morning Visitors

A Warrior in Costume

A Savage Aesculapius

Practice of the Healing Art

Body Servant

A Dwelling-house of the Valley described

Portraits of its Inmates

Chapter 12

Officiousness of Kory-Kory

His Devotion

A Bath in the Stream

Want of Refinement of the Typee Damsels

Stroll with Mehvi

A Typee Highway

The Taboo Groves

The Hoolah-Hoolah Ground

The Ti

Timeworn Savages

Hospitality of Mehevi

Midnight Misgivings

Adventure in the Dark

Distinguished Honors paid to the Visitors

Strange Procession and Return to the House of Marheyo

Chapter 13

Attempt to procure Relief from Nukuheva

Perilous Adventure of Toby in the Happar Mountain

Eloquence of Kory-Kory

Chapter 14

A great Event happens in the Valley

The Island Telegraph

Something befalls Toby

Fayaway displays a tender Heart

Melancholy Reflections

Mysterious Conduct of the Islanders

Devotion of Kory-Kory

A rural Couch

A Luxury

Kory-Kory strikes a Light à la Typee

Chapter 15

Kindness of Marheyo and the rest of the Islanders

A full Description of the Bread-fruit Tree

Different Modes of preparing the Fruit

Chapter 16

Melancholy condition

Occurrence at the Ti

Anecdote of Marheyo

Shaving the Head of a Warrior

Chapter 17

Improvement in Health and Spirits

Felicity of the Typees

Their enjoyment compared with those of more enlightened Communities

Comparative Wickedness of civilized and unenlightened People

A Skirmish in the Mountain with the Warriors of Happar

Chapter 18

Swimming in company with the Girls of the Valley

A Canoe

Effects of the Taboo

A pleasure Excursion on the Pond

Beautiful freak of Fayaway


A Stranger arrives in the Valley

His mysterious conduct

Native Oratory

The Interview

Its Results

Departure of the Stranger

Chapter 19

Reflections after Marnoo's Departure

Battle of the Pop-guns

Strange conceit of Marheyo

Process of making Tappa

Chapter 20

History of a day as usually spent in the Typee Valley

Dances of the Marquesan Girls

Chapter 21

The Spring of Arva Wai

Remarkable Monumental Remains

Some ideas with regard to the History of the Pi-Pis found in the Valley

Chapter 22

Preparations for a Grand Festival in the Valley

Strange doings in the Taboo Groves

Monument of Calabashes

Gala costume of the Typee damsels

Departure for the Festival

Chapter 23

The Feast of Calabashes

Chapter 24

Ideas suggested by the Feast of Calabashes

Inaccuracy of certain published Accounts of the Islands

A Reason

Neglected State of Heathenism in the Valley

Effigy of a dead Warrior

A singular Superstition

The Priest Kolory and the God Moa Artua

Amazing Religious Observance

A dilapidated Shrine

Kory-Kory and the Idol

An Inference

Chapter 25

General Information gathered at the Festival

Personal Beauty of the Typees

Their Superiority over the Inhabitants of the other Islands

Diversity of Complexion

A Vegetable Cosmetic and Ointment

Testimony of Voyagers to the uncommon Beauty of the Marquesans

Few Evidences of Intercourse with Civilized Beings

Dilapidated Musket

Primitive Simplicity of Government

Regal Dignity of Mehevi

Chapter 26

King Mehevi

Allusion to his Hawiian Majesty

Conduct of Marheyo and Mehevi in certain delicate matters

Peculiar system of Marriage

Number of Population



Places of Sepulture

Funeral obsequies at Nukuheva

Number of Inhabitants at Typee

Location of the Dwellings

Happiness enjoyed in the Valley

A Warning

Some ideas with regard to the Civilization of the Islands

Reference to the Present state of the Hawiians

Story of a Missionary's Wife

Fashionable Equipages at Oahu


Chapter 27

The Social Condition and General Character of the Typees

Chapter 28

Fishing Parties

Mode of distributing the Fish

Midnight Banquet

Timekeeping Tapers

Unceremonious style of eating the Fish

Chapter 29

Natural History of the Valley

Golden Lizards

Tameness of the Birds




A solitary Cat

The Climate

The Cocoa-nut Tree

Singular modes of climbing it

An agile young Chief

Fearlessness of the Children

Too-Too and the Cocoa-nut Tree

The Birds of the Valley

Chapter 30

A Professor of the Fine Arts

His Persecutions

Something about Tattooing and Tabooing

Two Anecdotes in illustration of the latter

A few thoughts on the Typee Dialect

Chapter 31

Strange custom of the Islanders

Their Chanting, and the peculiarity of their Voice

Rapture of the King at first hearing a Song

A new Dignity conferred on the Author

Musical Instruments in the Valley

Admiration of the Savages at Beholding a Pugilistic Performance

Swimming Infant

Beautiful Tresses of the Girls

Ointment for the Hair

Chapter 32

Apprehensions of Evil

Frightful Discovery

Some remarks on Cannibalism

Second Battle with the Happars

Savage Spectacle

Mysterious Feast

Subsequent Disclosures

Chapter 33

The Stranger again arrives in the Valley

Singular Interview with him

Attempt to Escape


Melancholy Situation

Sympathy of Marheyo

Chapter 34

The Escape

Appendix: Provisional cession to Lord George Paulet of the Sandwich Islands

Sequel: The Story of Toby

Appendixes: List of Textual Expurgations; List of Textual Emendations

The Typee Manuscript: A Reading Text

Explanatory Notes

Product Details

Bryant, John
Bryant, John
Introduction by:
Bryant, John
Bryant, John
Commentaries by:
Bryant, John
Bryant, John
Melville, Herman
Bryant, John
Woodcock, George
Penguin Books
New York :
Social life and customs
American fiction (fictional works by one author)
Adventure stories
Indigenous peoples
Autobiographical fiction
Marquesas Islands (French Polynesia) Social life and customs Fiction.
Marquesas Islands.
General Fiction
Marquesas Islands (French Polynesia)
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Penguin Classics
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 12
7.72x5.05x.67 in. .55 lbs.
Age Level:
from 18

Other books you might like

  1. Selected Tales and Sketches (Penguin... Used Trade Paper $2.95
  2. The Marble Faun: Or, the Romance of... Used Trade Paper $4.50
  3. Pierre: Or, the Ambiguities (Penguin... Used Trade Paper $6.50
  4. Blithedale Romance Used Mass Market $0.50
  5. White Teeth (Vintage International)
    Used Trade Paper $7.50
  6. Kidnapped (Penguin Classics) Used Trade Paper $2.95

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life (Penguin Classics) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$14.00 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Penguin Books - English 9780140434880 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Typee is a fast-moving adventure tale, an autobiographical account of the author's Polynesian stay, an examination of the nature of good and evil, and a frank exploration of sensuality and exotic ritual.
  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at