In 1851 Herman Melville published the story of a whale and the mad man who hunted it. He originally titled it "The Whale", but later changed the name to "Moby Dick". It was a failure and out of print at the time of his death 40 years later. But, then during the 20th century it […]
Herman Melville (1819-1891) was a great novelist, short story writer and poet during the American Renaissance. His works explored psychological and metaphysical themes. During the last 30 years of his life, much of his writing had slipped into obscurity, only to be brought out and celebrated in 1919, the centennial of his birth.
Melville had an ample supply of adventures to use in his writing. He started out as a cabin boy, sailed the South Seas on a whaler, deserted his ship and lived among cannibals for 18 months. Escaping aboard and Australian trader, Melville made it to Tahiti, where he spent some time in prison.
From there he sailed to Hawaii where he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After being discharged in 1844. Melville joined writing groups in Boston and New York and began to write about his experiences.
His first book, "Typee" was about his adventures, and did so well, he wrote a sequel. Although, "Omoo" did well, his books began to lose their following. A prolific writer, he was not financially successful. "Moby Dick", one of Melville's most acclaimed novels in this time, was not a best seller.
He was practically an unknown author. His book, "Israel Potter" (1855). an historical romance, is still barely read. Shortly after completing "Billy Bud, Sailor" Herman Melville died. He left a great body of work that has grown in importance every year since it's reemergence during the 1920's.