"We are glad . . . that the author has descended from his sublime . . . to common and real life. His sailor boy's first voyage . . . is as perfect a specimen of the naval yarn as me ever read."--LondonLiterary Gazette ( 1849), reviewing Redburn.
Having found anything but remunerative the experiment of offer- ing his public a voyage frankly fantastic, the now impecunious young author made, with a voyage patently real, a candidly admitted bid for base shillings and dollars. Suggested by Melville's initial sea voyage, as a cabin boy in a merchantman plying between New York and Liverpool, but in many respects not autobiographical, this book was rather hastily put together, and the author's own expectations of favor with the critics were not high. Redburn: His First Voyage. Being the Sailor-boy Confessions and Reminiscences of the Son-of-a-Gentleman in the Merchant Service was published in London on September 26, 1849, and, like Mardi, by Richard Bentley.1
For once the London literary weeklies did not have the first word about one of Melville's books; they were this time anticipated by a London daily newspaper, the Morning Post, which on October 1 carried the first known review of Redburn, a long and complimentary one. The opening sentence in the Post, however, was an apt expression of the main reason Redburn aroused less interest than Typee and Omoo____________________