A Herman Melville Encyclopedia

A Herman Melville Encyclopedia

A Herman Melville Encyclopedia

A Herman Melville Encyclopedia

Synopsis

Herman Melville is one of the most challenging authors of American literature. Known primarily as the author of Moby-Dick, he wrote several other novels, short stories, and poems. This volume is a comprehensive guide to his life and work. Included are hundreds of entries for his writings, characters, family members, friends, and acquaintances. The volume identifies characters from Melville's works, and entries on the most important topics include bibliographies.

Excerpt

It is my hope that A Herman Melville Encyclopedia will be of special help to readers just beginning to appreciate Melville, who is in many ways the most unusual, challenging, disturbing, and difficult American author. My work provides an easy sorting out of plots, characters, relatives, friends, and activities. in addition, it should aid more experienced readers in college and university classes. Graduate students, seasoned teachers, and publishing scholars may also find it useful in providing an efficient review of much primary and secondary data, or at least in refreshing their memories of earlier readings.

Melville was much more than the author of Moby-Dick, "Bartleby," "Benito Cereno," Billy Budd, and once sensational works, notably Typee and Omoo, about South Sea cannibals. Much of his other fiction, especially but not exclusively The Confidence-Man, is often so bewildering in its complexity that readers may gratefully accept a little help in navigating through it. Melville was inspired to write poems about the Civil War, which were collected in Battle- Pieces and which have earned him tardy respect. His long narrative poem, Clarel, the consequence of an anguished pilgrimage to the Holy Land, is attracting more and more attention. Moreover, in leading several lives-those of sailor, author, friend of many types of people, son, brother, husband, and father-he touched the lives of many persons, dozens of whom appear in this encyclopedia. Also, critical and biographical scholarship is pouring from academic presses at such a rate that we all need help with winnowing and memory jogging. While this encyclopedia is informational and not critical, a few critical judgments are implicit here and there; and the end-of-entry bibliographies and the final, general bibliography -- all of which stress post-1990 material wherever pertinent -- should prove useful to the critically minded.

To aid the reader, items in A Herman Melville Encyclopedia are cross-

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