Herman Melville: Moby Dick and Other Works

Herman Melville: Moby Dick and Other Works

Herman Melville: Moby Dick and Other Works

Herman Melville: Moby Dick and Other Works

Synopsis

Sometimes the personal stories behind famous writers can be as compelling as the works they pen. This new series introduces the life and writings of authors whose works forever changed the time period in which they lived, and whose writing continues to be a dynamic part of the literary landscape. Each book in the series contains a comprehensive list of the author's works, while highlighting and analyzing the writings most often discussed in high schools. from F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, an in-depth analysis of the writings and the historical time period in which they were written, along with the writers' biographies and critical commentaries of the past and present, provide the reader with a unique look into the worlds of these cultural icons and the writings we have come to regard as timeless.

Excerpt

HERMAN MELVILLE (1819-1891) was an adventuresome young man who traveled in the wild American West; joined a merchant ship headed for England; sailed on the South Seas; hunted the most ferocious big game animal, the whale; lived as a prisoner with cannibals; and roamed though the Pacific Islands. When he was twenty-five, he returned to New York and began to write sea romances about his exciting times.

With the enormous success of his first books, Typee (1846) and Omoo (1847), Melville became famous as [the man who lived with cannibals.] He wrote three more books, Mardi (1849), Redburn (1849), and White-Jacket (1850), before producing his masterpiece, Moby Dick, in 1851, a novel readers not only misunderstood but scorned. After publishing an even more unpopular book, Pierre (1852), Melville turned to short-story writing. Two more novels appeared in his lifetime: Israel Potter (1855), which was received with indifference, and The Confidence-Man (1857), which was condemned. With this failure, Melville gave up writing professionally. He and his family moved to New York City in 1863, where Melville spent nineteen years as a customs inspector (1866-1885) and wrote poetry.

When he died in 1891, his writing was practically forgotten. Since his rediscovery in the 1920s, Melville has been hailed as an American literary giant. Moby Dick, published in 1924, is regarded as a classic. Melville's works have been adapted into films, musicals, operas, and stage productions; the whale, [Moby Dick,] is one of the most recognized literary icons. Melville is now recognized as one of America's greatest writers of all time.

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