Moby Dick

      Herman Melville / History & Fiction
Moby Dick

Moby Dick is a novel by American writer Herman Melville. The work is an epic sea story of Captain Ahab's voyage in pursuit of Moby Dick, a great white whale. A contemporary commercial failure and out of print at the time of the author's death in 1891, its reputation rose during the twentieth century. D.H. Lawrence called it "the greatest book of the sea ever written." Jorge Luis Borges praised the style: "Unforgettable phrases abound." Today it is considered one of the Great American Novels and a leading work of American Romanticism. The opening line, "Call me Ishmael," is one of the most recognizable opening lines in Western literature. Ishmael then narrates the voyage of the whaleship Pequod, commanded by Captain Ahab. Ahab has one purpose: revenge on Moby Dick, a ferocious, enigmatic white whale which on a previous voyage destroyed Ahab's ship and severed his leg at the knee. The detailed and realistic descriptions of whale hunting and the process of extracting whale oil, as well as life aboard ship among a culturally diverse crew, are mixed with exploration of class and social status, good and evil, and the existence of God. Melville uses a wide range of styles and literary devices ranging from lists and catalogs to Shakespearean stage directions, soliloquies, and asides.
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    Billy Budd and the Piazza Tales

      Herman Melville / History & Fiction
Billy Budd and the Piazza Tales

Largely neglected in his own lifetime, Herman Melville mastered not only the great American novel but also the short story and novella forms. In Billy Budd and The Piazza Tales, Melville reveals an uncanny awareness of the inscrutable nature of reality.

Published posthumously in 1924, Billy Budd is a masterpiece second only to Melville’s Moby-Dick. This complex short novel tells the story of “the handsome sailor” Billy who, provoked by a false charge, accidentally kills the satanic master-at-arms. Unable to defend himself due to a stammer, he is hanged, going willingly to his fate. Although typically ambiguous, Billy Budd is seen by many as a testament to Melville’s ultimate reconciliation with the incongruities and injustices of life.

The Piazza Tales (1856) comprises six short stories, including the perpetually popular “Benito Cereno” and “Bartleby,” a tale of a scrivener who repeatedly distills his mordant criticism of the workplace into the deceptively simple phrase “I would prefer not to.”

Billy Budd
The piazza --
Bartleby --
Benito Cereno --
The lightning-rod man --
The encantadas --
The bell-tower --

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    Benito Cereno and Bartleby the Scrivener

      Herman Melville / History & Fiction
Benito Cereno and Bartleby the Scrivener

BENITO CERENOHerman Melville's controversial 1855 short story Benito Cereno retains its power to move the reader over a century and a half after its publication. The story - which ends with a haunting twist - centers on a slave rebellion aboard a Spanish merchant ship in 1799 and because of its ambiguity has been read by some as racist and pro-slavery and by others as anti-racistThe novella follows a sea captain, Amasa Delano, and his crew on the Bachelor's Delight as it is approached by another, rather battered-looking ship, the San Dominick.Upon boarding the San Dominick, Delano is immediately greeted by white sailors and black slaves begging for supplies. An inquisitive Delano ponders the mysterious social atmosphere aboard the badly bruised ship and notes the figurehead which is mostly concealed by a tarpaulin revealing only the inscription "Follow your leader." Delano soon encounters the ship's noticeably timid but polite Spanish captain, Don Benito Cereno. Delano believes Cereno's assertion that he and his crew have recently gone through a debilitating series of troubles, having been at sea now for an unsettingly long time. Cereno tells of these tribulations, including horrendous weather patterns and the fate of the slaves' master, Alexandro Aranda, who Cereno claims took fever aboard the ship and died. Gradually, however, Delano's suspicions increase, based on his noting Cereno's sudden waves of dizziness and anxiety, the crew's awkward movements and whisperings, and the unusual interaction of the ship's white and black residents.BARTLEBY THE SCRIVENERBartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street first appeared anonymously in two parts in the November and December 1853 editions of Putnam's Magazine, and was reprinted with minor textual alterations in The Piazza Tales in 1856.The narrator, an elderly Manhattan lawyer with a very comfortable business helping wealthy men deal with mortgages, deeds, and bonds, tells the story of a quiet, hardworking legal copyist named Bartleby.One day Bartleby declines the assignment his employer gives him with the inscrutable "I would prefer not." The utterance of this remark sets off a confounding set of actions and behavior, making the unsettling character of Bartleby one of Melville's most enigmatic and unforgettable creations.
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    Moby Dick; Or, The Whale

      Herman Melville / Actions & Adventure
Moby Dick; Or, The Whale

ETYMOLOGY.

(Supplied by a Late Consumptive Usher to a Grammar School)

The pale Usher--threadbare in coat, heart, body, and brain; I see himnow. He was ever dusting his old lexicons and grammars, with a queerhandkerchief, mockingly embellished with all the gay flags of allthe known nations of the world. He loved to dust his old grammars; itsomehow mildly reminded him of his mortality.

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    Israel Potter: His Fifty Years of Exile (Annotated Edition)

      Herman Melville / History & Fiction
Israel Potter: His Fifty Years of Exile (Annotated Edition)

When Israel Potter leaves his plough to fight in the American Revolution, he's immediately thrown into the Battle of Bunker Hill, where he receives multiple wounds. However, this does not deter him, and after hearing a rousing speech by General George Washington, he volunteers for further duty, this time at sea, where more ill fortune awaits him. Israel is captured by the British Navy and taken to England. Yet, he makes his escape, and this triggers a series of extraordinary events and meetings with remarkable people. Along the way, Israel encounters King George III, who takes a liking to the Yankee rebel and shelters him in Kew Gardens; Benjamin Franklin, who presses Israel into service as a spy; John Paul Jones, who invites Israel to join his crew aboard The Ranger; and Ethan Allen, whom Israel attempts to free from a British prison. (from wikipedia.com)
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    Mardi: and A Voyage Thither, Vol. I

      Herman Melville / Actions & Adventure
Mardi: and A Voyage Thither, Vol. I

Herman Melville was a well-known American novelist in his day, with best-sellers like Typee, but by the time he died in 1891, he had fallen into obscurity. Although his first few books were popular, they too began to collect dust and be forgotten in the country.Then came the Melville Revival in the early 20th century, which breathed life into his legacy and brought his work back to the forefront. Of course, the book that benefited the most from that revival is now considered one of the greatest American novels ever written: Moby Dick.
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    Billy Budd, Bartleby, and Other Stories

      Herman Melville / History & Fiction
Billy Budd, Bartleby, and Other Stories

Though best-known for his epic masterpiece Moby-Dick, Herman Melville also left a body of short stories arguably unmatched in American fiction. In the sorrowful tragedy of Billy Budd,Sailor; the controlled rage of Benito Cereno; and the tantalizing enigma of Bartleby, the Scrivener; Melville reveals himself as a singular storyteller of tremendous range and compelling power. In these stories, Melville cuts to the heart of race, class, capitalism, and globalism in America, deftly navigating political and social issues that resonate as clearly in our time as they did in Melville's. Also including The Piazza Tales in full, this collection demonstrates why Melville stands not only among the greatest writers of the nineteenth century, but also as one of our greatest contemporaries.

This Penguin Classics edition features the Reading Text of Billy Budd, Sailor, as edited from a genetic study of the manuscript by Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr., and the authoritative Northwestern-Newberry text of The Piazza Tales.

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    Redburn. His First Voyage

      Herman Melville / History & Fiction
Redburn. His First Voyage

Redburn: His First Voyage, is the fourth book by the American writer Herman Melville, first published in London in 1849. The book is semi-autobiographical and recounts the adventures of a refined youth among coarse and brutal sailors and the seedier areas of Liverpool. Melville wrote Redburn in less than ten weeks. While one scholar describes it as "arguably his funniest work," Unable to find employment at home, young Wellingborough Redburn signs on the Highlander, a merchantman out of New York City bound for Liverpool, England. Representing himself as the "son of a gentleman" and expecting to be treated as such, he discovers that he is just a green hand, a "boy," the lowest rank on the ship, assigned all the duties no other sailor wants, like cleaning out the "pig-pen," a longboat that serves as a shipboard sty. The first mate promptly nicknames him "Buttons" for the shiny ones on his impractical jacket. Redburn quickly grasps the workings of social relations aboard ship. As a common seaman he can have no contact with those "behind the mast" where the officers command the ship. Before the mast, where the common seaman work and live, a bully named Jackson, the best seaman aboard, rules through fear with an iron fist. Uneducated yet cunning, with broken nose and squinting eye, he is described as "a Cain afloat, branded on his yellow brow with some inscrutable curse and going about corrupting and searing every heart that beat near him." Redburn soon experiences all the trials of a greenhorn: seasickness, scrubbing decks, climbing masts in the dead of night to unfurl sails, cramped quarters, and bad food.When the ship lands in Liverpool he is given liberty ashore. He rents a room and walks the city every day. One day in a street called Launcelott's Hey he hears "a feeble wail" from a cellar beneath an old warehouse and looking into it sees "the figure of what had been a woman. Her blue arms folded to her livid bosom two shrunken things like children, that leaned toward her, one on each side. At first I knew not whether they were alive or dead. They made no sign; they did not move or stir; but from the vault came that soul-sickening wail." He runs for help but is met with indifference by a ragpicker, a porter, his landlady, even by a policeman who tells him to mind his own business. He returns with some bread and cheese and drops them into the vault to the mother and children, but they are too weak to lift it to their mouths. The mother whispers "water" so he runs and fills his tarpaulin hat at an open hydrant. The girls drink and revive enough to nibble some cheese. He clasps the mother's arms and pulls them aside to see "a meager babe, the lower part of its body thrust into an old bonnet. Its face was dazzlingly white, even in its squalor; but the closed eyes looked like balls of indigo. It must have been dead for some hours." Judging them beyond the point at which medicine could help, he returns to his room. A few days later he revisits the street and finds the vault empty: "In place of the woman and children, a heap of quick-lime was glistening...".. Herman Melville(August 1, 1819 - September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, and poet of the American Renaissance period. His best known works include Typee (1846), a romantic account of his experiences in Polynesian life, and his whaling novel Moby-Dick (1851). His work was almost forgotten during his last thirty years. His writing draws on his experience at sea as a common sailor, exploration of literature and philosophy, and engagement in the contradictions of American society in a period of rapid change. He developed a complex, baroque style: the vocabulary is rich and original, a strong sense of rhythm infuses the elaborate sentences, the imagery is often mystical or ironic, and the abundance of allusion extends to Scripture, myth, philosophy, literature, and the visual arts.

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    Mardi: and A Voyage Thither, Vol. II

      Herman Melville / Actions & Adventure
Mardi: and A Voyage Thither, Vol. II

Herman Melville was a well-known American novelist in his day, with best-sellers like Typee, but by the time he died in 1891, he had fallen into obscurity. Although his first few books were popular, they too began to collect dust and be forgotten in the country.Then came the Melville Revival in the early 20th century, which breathed life into his legacy and brought his work back to the forefront. Of course, the book that benefited the most from that revival is now considered one of the greatest American novels ever written: Moby Dick.
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    Moby-Dick or the Whale

      Herman Melville / History & Fiction / Actions & Adventure
Moby-Dick or the Whale

Herman Melville's The Confindence-Man: His Masquerade was the tenth, last, and most perplexing book of his decade as a professional man of letters. After it he gave up his ambitious effort to write works that would be both popular and profound and turned to poetry. The book was published on April 1--the very day of its title character's April Fools' Day masquerade on a Mississippi River Steamboat.

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    Typee: A Romance of the South Seas

      Herman Melville / Actions & Adventure
Typee: A Romance of the South Seas

Typee, a Romance of the South Sea is the first book by American writer Herman Melville, a classic in the literature of travel and adventure partly based on his actual experiences as a captive on the island Nuku Hiva, which Melville spelled as Nukuheva, in the South Pacific Marquesas Islands, in 1842. The title comes from the name of a valley there called Tai Pi Vai. It was Melville's most popular work during his lifetime, but made him notorious as the "man who lived among the cannibals." Typee may have provided the writers Robert Louis Stevenson, Louis Becke and Jack London with the themes and images of the Pacific experience: cannibalism, cultural absorption, colonialism, exoticism, eroticism, natural plenty and beauty, and a perceived simplicity of native lifestyle, desires and motives. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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    White Jacket; Or, The World on a Man-of-War

      Herman Melville / History & Fiction
White Jacket; Or, The World on a Man-of-War

Herman Melville was a well-known American novelist in his day, with best-sellers like Typee, but by the time he died in 1891, he had fallen into obscurity. Although his first few books were popular, they too began to collect dust and be forgotten in the country.Then came the Melville Revival in the early 20th century, which breathed life into his legacy and brought his work back to the forefront. Of course, the book that benefited the most from that revival is now considered one of the greatest American novels ever written: Moby Dick.
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    Typee

      Herman Melville / Actions & Adventure
Typee

Based on Melville's actual experiences after having jumped ship in the Marquesas Islands, this work was extremely popular, and provoked disbelief among its readers until the events it described were corroborated by Melville's fellow castaway, Richard Greene. While the book is based on fact, Typee is properly considered a work of fiction: the three week stay on which the author based his story is extended to four months, and Melville drew extensively on contemporary accounts by Pacific explorers to add cultural detail to what might otherwise have been a straightforward story of escape, capture and re-escape.
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    Omoo: Adventures in the South Seas

      Herman Melville / Actions & Adventure
Omoo: Adventures in the South Seas

Herman Melville was a well-known American novelist in his day, with best-sellers like Typee, but by the time he died in 1891, he had fallen into obscurity. Although his first few books were popular, they too began to collect dust and be forgotten in the country.Then came the Melville Revival in the early 20th century, which breathed life into his legacy and brought his work back to the forefront. Of course, the book that benefited the most from that revival is now considered one of the greatest American novels ever written: Moby Dick.
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