Herman Melville (1819-1891) Biography & famous works

Herman Melville (1819-1891)
Categories : American Literature

Herman Melville (1819-1891)

Herman Melville (1819-1891)
Herman Melville (1819-1891) Biography & famous works 4

Herman Melville (1819-1891) was an American writer born in New York. His life and writings were shaped by his early experiences at sea, as well as his family’s fall from wealth to poverty. Here is a biography of Herman Melville and an overview of his famous works:

Herman Melville was born on August 1, 1819, in New York City. He came from a prominent and wealthy family, but their fortunes declined after the death of his father in 1832. At the age of 19, Melville went to sea, embarking on a series of voyages that took him to various parts of the world.

His experiences at sea provided inspiration for his early novels, which often drew from his observations of life aboard ships and encounters with different cultures. However, his literary success was limited during his lifetime, and he struggled financially as a writer.

Melville married Elizabeth Shaw in 1847, and they had four children together. Despite the challenges he faced as an author, Melville continued to write, exploring various genres and styles throughout his career.

Famous Works:

  1. Typee (1846): Melville’s first novel, “Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life,” is a partly autobiographical account of his experiences as a captive on the island of Nuku Hiva in the South Pacific. It combines adventure, romance, and social commentary.
  2. “Moby-Dick” (1851): Considered one of the greatest novels in American literature, “Moby-Dick” tells the story of Captain Ahab’s obsessive quest for revenge against the white whale, Moby Dick. The novel explores themes of fate, obsession, and the human struggle against nature. It is known for its rich symbolism, philosophical musings, and complex narrative structure.
  3. “Bartleby, the Scrivener” (1853): This novella examines themes of alienation, conformity, and the nature of work. It tells the story of a peculiar copyist named Bartleby, who responds to requests with the enigmatic phrase, “I would prefer not to.”
  4. “Billy Budd, Sailor” (1891, published posthumously): This unfinished novella tells the tragic story of Billy Budd, a young sailor on a British warship who becomes the target of false accusations. The work explores themes of innocence, justice, and the clash between duty and moral conscience.

While Melville’s works received mixed reviews during his lifetime, his writings have been reevaluated and appreciated in the years following his death. His works are renowned for their exploration of complex themes, their philosophical depth, and their unique narrative styles. Melville’s contributions to American literature continue to be studied and celebrated today.

edgar allen poe

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

He was an American writer who made significant contributions to the genres of short stories, detective fiction, and science fiction.

Leave a Reply