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Herman Melville: An Introduction

ISBN: 978-1-4051-3157-5
248 pages
February 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
Herman Melville: An Introduction (1405131578) cover image
This unique introduction explores Herman Melville as he described himself in Billy Budd-"a writer whom few know." Moving beyond the recurring depiction of Melville as the famous author of Moby-Dick, this book traces his development as a writer while providing the basic tools for successful critical reading of his novels.

  • Offers a brief introduction to Melville, covering all his major works
  • Showcases Melville's writing process through his correspondence with Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Provides a clear sense of Melville's major themes and preoccupations
  • Focuses on Typee, Moby-Dick, and Billy Budd in individual chapters
  • Includes a biography, summary of key works, interpretation, commentary, and an extensive bibliography.
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Texts and Abbreviations.

List of Illustrations.

Acknowledgments.

Preface.

Part I: Introduction.

1 Melville's Life.

2 "Agatha" and the Invention of Narrative.

Part II: Melville's Early Yarns.

3 "Making Literary Use of the Story": Typee and Omoo.

4 "A Regular Story Founded on Striking Incidents": Mardi, Redburn, and White-Jacket.

Part III: Writing New Gospel in Moby-Dick and Pierre.

5 "So Much of Pathos & So Much of Depth": Moby-Dick.

6 "All Tender Obligations": Pierre.

Part IV: Turning a New Leaf: Short Fiction, Israel Potter, and The Confidence-Man.

7 "A Leaf from Professional Experience": Short Fiction of the 1850s.

8 "Peculiarly Latitudinarian Notions": Israel Potter and The Confidence-Man.

Part V: Melville's Later Career.

9 "Fulness & Veins & Beauty": Battle-Pieces and Clarel.

10 "Different Considerations": Late Poetry.

11 "Instinct with Significance": Billy Budd.

Afterword: "Restoring to You Your Own Property": Owning Melville.

Appendix: "Agatha" Correspondence.

Bibliography.

Index
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Wyn Kelley is a Senior Lecturer in the Literature Faculty at MIT. She is the author of Melville's City: Literary and Urban Form in Nineteenth-Century New York (1996) and editor of A Companion to Herman Melville (Blackwell, 2006) and an edition of Benito Cereno 2006, and has also written a number of essays on Melville. She is Associate Editor of the Melville Society journal Leviathan.
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  • Offers a brief introduction to Melville, covering all his major works
  • Provides a clear sense of Melville’s major themes and preoccupations
  • Focuses on Typee, Moby-Dick, and Billy Budd in individual chapters
  • Showcases Melville’s writing process through his correspondence with Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Includes a biography, summary of key works, interpretation, commentary, and an extensive bibliography
See More
“In Herman Melville: An Introduction, Wyn Kelley offers new and sharp insights as well as the basics of Melville studies in a thoroughly engaging voice for all readers, undergraduate and above.”
John Bryant, Hofstra University
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