Herman Melville (August 1 1819 - September 28 1891) was a U.S.
novelist, Quick Facts about: essayist
A writer of literary worksessayist, and Quick Facts about: poet
A writer of poems (the term is usually reserved for writers of good poetry)poet. During his own lifetime his early novels, South Seas adventures, were quite popular, but his audience declined later in his life. By the time of his death he had nearly been forgotten, but his masterpiece, Quick Facts about: Moby-Dick
Quick Summary not found for this subjectMoby-Dick, was "rediscovered" in following years and he is now widely esteemed as one of the most important figures in American literature.
Melville was a friend of Quick Facts about: Nathaniel Hawthorne
United States writer of novels and short stories mostly on moral themes (1804-1864)Nathaniel Hawthorne, and was influenced by the latter's writing; Moby-Dick is dedicated to Hawthorne. In his later life, his works no longer accessible to a broad audience, he was not able to make money from writing. He depended on his wife's family for money, and later became a Quick Facts about: New York City
The largest city in New York State and in the United States; located in southeastern New York at the mouth of the Hudson river; a major financial and cultural centerNew York City Customs agent. His short novel Quick Facts about: Billy Budd
Quick Summary not found for this subjectBilly Budd, an unpublished manuscript at the time of his death, was later published successfully and was turned into an Quick Facts about: opera
A drama set to music; consists of singing with orchestral accompaniment and an orchestral overture and interludesopera by Quick Facts about: Benjamin Britten
Major English composer of the 20th century; noted for his operas (1913-1976)Benjamin Britten.
Melville also wrote Quick Facts about: White-Jacket
Quick Summary not found for this subjectWhite-Jacket, Quick Facts about: Typee
Quick Summary not found for this subjectTypee, Quick Facts about: Omoo
Quick Summary not found for this subjectOmoo, Quick Facts about: Pierre
Capital of the state of South Dakota; located in central South Dakota on the Missouri riverPierre, The Confidence Man and many short stories and works of various genres. His short story "Quick Facts about: Bartleby the Scrivener
Quick Summary not found for this subjectBartleby the Scrivener" is among his most important pieces, and has been considered a precursor to Quick Facts about: Existentialist
A philosopher who emphasizes freedom of choice and personal responsibility but who regards human existence in a hostile universe as unexplainableExistentialist and Absurdist literature. Rarely among poets, he did not write any substantial poetry until late in his life; after the Quick Facts about: Civil War
A war between factions in the same countryCivil War, he published Battle-Pieces, which sold well. But once again tending to outrun the tastes of his readers, Melville's poetic masterpiece, the epic length verse-narrative Clarel, about a student's pilgrimage to the Quick Facts about: Holy Land
An ancient country is southwestern Asia on the east coast of the Mediterranean; a place of pilgrimage for Christianity and Islam and JudaismHoly Land, was also quite unknown in his own time.
Paraphrased from the introduction written by Arthur Stedman to the 1892 edition of Melville's Quick Facts about: Typee
Quick Summary not found for this subjectTypee:
Herman Melville was born in Quick Facts about: New York City
The largest city in New York State and in the United States; located in southeastern New York at the mouth of the Hudson river; a major financial and cultural centerNew York City on August 1, 1819, and
received his early education in that city. He says he gained his
first love of adventure listening to his father Allan, who was an extensive traveller for his time, telling tales of the monstrous waves at sea, mountain high, of the masts bending like twigs, and all about Quick Facts about: Le Havre
A port city in northern France on the English Channel at the mouth of the SeineLe Havre and Quick Facts about: Liverpool
A large city in northwestern England; its port is the country's major outlet for industrial exportsLiverpool. After the death of his father the family (eight brothers and
sisters) moved to the village of Lansingburg, on the Hudson River.
There Herman remained until 1835, when he attended the Albany
Classical School for some months.
Herman's roving disposition, and a desire to support himself
independently of family assistance, soon led him to ship as cabin
boy in a New York vessel bound for Liverpool. He made the
voyage, visited London, and returned in the same ship. 'Redburn:
His First Voyage,' published in 1849, is partly founded on the
experiences of this trip.
A good part of the succeeding three years, from 1837 to 1840, was
occupied with school-teaching.
I fancy that it was the reading of Richard Henry Dana's 'Two
Years Before the Mast' which revived the spirit of adventure in
Melville's breast. That book was published in 1840, and was at
once talked of everywhere. Melville must have read it at the
time, mindful of his own experience as a sailor. At any rate, he
once more signed a ship's articles, and on January 1, 1841,
sailed from Quick Facts about: New Bedford, Massachusetts
Quick Summary not found for this subjectNew Bedford, Massachusetts harbour in the whaler Acushnet, bound for
the Pacific Ocean and the sperm fishery. He has left very little
direct information as to the events of this eighteen months'
cruise, although his whaling romance, 'Moby-Dick; or, the Whale,'
probably gives many pictures of life on board the Acushnet.
Melville decided to abandon the vessel on reaching the Marquesas
Islands; and the narrative of 'Typee' and its sequel, 'Omoo,' tell this tale.
After a sojourn at the Society Islands, Melville shipped
for Honolulu. There he remained for four months, employed as a
clerk. He joined the crew of the American frigate United States,
which reached Boston, stopping on the way at one of the Peruvian
ports, in October of 1844. Once more was a narrative of his
experiences to be preserved in 'White Jacket; or, the World in a
Man-of-War.' Thus, of Melville's four most important books,
three, 'Typee,' 'Omoo,' and 'White-Jacket,' are directly auto
biographical, and 'Moby-Dick' is partially so; while the less
important 'Redburn' is between the two classes in this respect.
Melville married Miss Elizabeth Shaw on August 4,
1847, in Boston, whereupon his nautical wanderings were brought to a
conclusion. Mr. and Mrs. Melville resided in New York City until
1850, when they purchased a farmhouse at Pittsfield.
Here Melville remained for thirteen years, occupied with his
writing, and managing his farm. An article in Putnam's Monthly
entitled 'I and My Chimney,' another called 'October Mountain,'
and the introduction to the 'Piazza Tales,' present faithful
pictures of Arrow Head and its surroundings.
While at Pittsfield, Mr. Melville was induced to enter the lecture field. From 1857 to 1860 he filled many engagements in the lyceums, chiefly speaking of his adventures in the South Seas.
After an illness that lasted a number of months, Herman Melville died at
his home in New York City early on the morning of September 28, 1891. He
was interred in the Quick Facts about: Woodlawn Cemetery
Quick Summary not found for this subjectWoodlawn Cemetery in Quick Facts about: The Bronx
A borough of New York CityThe Bronx, Quick Facts about: New York
A Mid-Atlantic state; one of the original 13 coloniesNew York.
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