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Herman Melville was born Herman Melvill (the â€˜eâ€™ was added in the 1830s) on 1 August, 1819, in New York City to a wealthy importer.
The Melvilles moved to Albany after Hermanâ€™s father was bankrupted. His father died soon after and the young Herman worked variously as a farmer, bookkeeper, teacher and bank clerk. At the age of 20 he signed on as a deck hand of a trading ship, the St. Lawrence, sailing to Liverpool and back. Soon after his return he set sail for the South Pacific aboard the whaling ship Acusnet. In the Marquesas, Melville jumped ship and spent a month in the Taipi valley on the island of Nuku Hiva. Brought to Tahiti by an Australian whaler, Melville was taken ashore as a mutineer but escaped. He enlisted in the US Navy in Honolulu and sailed to Boston, where he was discharged in 1844.
Back in the US, he began to write, turning his experiences in the Pacific into several fictionalized travel books. Typee in 1846 was extremely successful.
In 1847 Melville married Elizabeth Shaw, the daughter of the Massachusetts Chief Justice. After a few years they and their family moved to Arrowhead, a farm in Pittsfield, where Melville started Moby Dick. During this time he met Nathaniel Hawthorne, who inspired him greatly.
Upon publication, Moby Dick received mixed reviews. His next novel, Pierre, fared worse. Seeking a steady income, Melville turned to magazine writing. In the late 1850s he embarked on a tour of the Holy Land, financed by his father-in-law. The trip inspired much of his future writing. Upon his return to the US Melville lectured extensively and began to write poetry almost exclusively. He failed to find a publisher for his poems and took a post as a deputy inspector of customs at New York port, a job he held for almost 20 years.
His relationship with his wife deteriorated so much in 1867 that they nearly separated. Later that year their son Malcolm died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
After his retirement Melville published two small volumes of poetry, dealing with the sea, art politics and sexuality. At his death on September 28, 1891, Melville left several uncompleted projects, including the novella Billy Budd, which remained unpublished until 1924.
Moby Dick covers subjects such as racism, hierarchical relationships, politics, good and evil. None of this is lost in the Compact Edition. What have been cut are lengthy descriptions of whaling history and whales and some philosophical observations and reflections. Still an allegorical epic though.
One of Giles Coren's favourite books. A swashbuckling adventure story of seemingly epic proportions. The plot follows a half-crazed sea captain who seeks bitter revenge on a white whale who previously deprived him of his legs. Extraordinary details of ships, whale anatomy, and the nature of man make this novel intense and deeply fascinating. The first line of Moby Dick, ‘Call me Ishmael,’ has been described as one of the most immortal openings to any book in literary history. A must read classic. Visit our '50 Classics Everyone Should Read' collection to discover more classic titles.
Penguin Readers is an ELT graded reader series for learners of English as a foreign language. With carefully adapted text, new illustrations and language learning exercises, the print edition also includes instructions to access supporting material online. Titles include popular classics, exciting contemporary fiction, and thought-provoking non-fiction, introducing language learners to bestselling authors and compelling content. The eight levels of Penguin Readers follow the Common European Framework of Reference for language learning (CEFR). Exercises at the back of each Reader help language learners to practise grammar, vocabulary, and key exam skills. Before, during and after-reading questions test readers' story comprehension and develop vocabulary. Visit the Penguin Readers website Exclusively with the print edition, readers can unlock online resources including a digital book, audio edition, lesson plans and answer keys. When the young sailor Ishmael decides to sail on the Pequod with the mysterious Captain Ahab, he has no idea about Ahab's plans to get revenge on the great white whale Moby Dick. Ahab wants to find and kill the whale at any cost - even if it means losing his ship and his crew.
Herman Melville wrote White-Jacket; or, The World in a Man-of-War during two months of intense work in the summer of 1849. He drew upon his memories of naval life, having spent fourteen months as an ordinary seaman aboard a frigate as it sailed the Pacific and made the homeward voyage around Cape Horn. Already that same summer Melville had written Redburn, and he regarded the books as two jobs, which I have done for money--being forced to it, as other men are to sawing wood. The reviewers were not as hard on White-Jacket as Melville himself was. The English liked its praise of British seamen. The Americans were more interested in Melville's attack on naval abuses, particularly flogging, and his advocacy of humanitarian causes. Soon Melville was acclaimed the best sea writer of the day. Part autobiography, part epic fiction, White-Jacket remains a brilliantly imaginative social novel by one of the great writers of the sea. This text of the novel is an Approved Text of the Center for Editions of American Authors (Modern Language Association of America).
In this new edition of The Piazza Tales, the editors of the acclaimed Northwestern-Newberry Edition of the Writings of Herman Melville have used the original magazine versions for five of the six stories in order to present the most accurate tests of these works. Here, in such famous stories as Bartleby, the Scrivener and The Encantadas, or Enchanted Isles, we find Melville's imagination and style at its best. Of the less well-known tales, the humor in The Piazza and The Lightning-Rod Man, and the gothic horror of The Bell Tower, command attention as well. Whether in the exotic Galapagos or the more familiar climes of Wall Street or a Massachusetts farmhouse, Melville's power and imagination transport the reader into his unique worlds. This edition is an Approved Text of the Center for Editions of American Authors (Modern Language Association of America).
Initially dismissed as a dead failure and a bad book, and declined by Melville's British publisher, Pierre, or The Ambiguities has since struck critics as modern in its psychological probings and literary technique--fit, as Carl Van Vechten said in 1922, to be ranked with The Golden Bowl, Women in Love, and Ulysses. None of Melville's other secondary works has so regularly been acknowledged by its most thorough critics as a work of genuine grandeur, however flawed. This scholarly edition aims to present a text as close to the author's intention as the surviving evidence permits. Based on collations of the two issues and the two impressions of the single edition publishing in Melville's lifetime, it incorporates necessary emendations made by the series editors. This text of Pierre is an Approved Text of the Center for Editions of American Authors (Modern Language Association of America).
Redburn is a fictional narrative of a boy's first voyage, based loosely on Melville's own first voyage to and from Liverpool in 1839. Hastily composed and little esteemed by its author, Redburn was more highly thought of by his critics, who saw it regaining the ground of popular sea stories like Typee and Omoo. Melville so disliked the novel that he submitted it to his publisher without polishing it. This scholarly edition corrects a number of errors that have persisted in subsequent editions. Based on collations of the editions published during his lifetime, it incorporates corrections made in the English edition and emendations made by the present editors. As with all the books in the Northwestern-Newberry series, this edition of Redburn is an Approved Text of the Center for Editions of American Authors (Modern Language Association of America).
Melville's second book, Omoo, begins where his first book, Typee, left off. As the author said, It embraces adventures in the South Seas (of a totally different character from 'Typee') and includes an eventful cruise in an English Colonial Whaleman (a Sydney Ship) and a comical residence on the island of Tahiti. The popular success of his first novel encouraged Melville to write a sequel, hoping it would be a fitting successor. Typee describes Polynesian life in its primitive state, while Omoo represents it as affected by non-native influences. This scholarly edition aims to present a text as close to the author's intention as surviving evidence permits. Based on collations of all editions publishing during Melville's lifetime, it incorporates author corrections and many emendations made by the present editors. This edition of Omoo is an Approved Text of the Center for Editions of American Authors (Modern Language Association of America).
Although he surprised the world in 1866 with his first published book of poetry, Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War , Herman Melville had long been steeped in poetry. This new offering in the authoritative Northwestern-Newberry series, The Writings of Herman Melville , with a historical note by Hershel Parker, is testament to Melville the poet. Penultimate in the publication of the series, Published Poems follows the release of Melville's verse epic, Clarel (1876), and with it, contains the entirety of the poems published during Melville's lifetime: Battle-Pieces , as well as John Marr and Other Sailors , with Some Sea-Pieces (1888), and Timoleon Etc. (1891). As with the other volumes in the Northwestern-Newberry series, the aim of this edition of Published Poems is to present a text as close to the author's intention as surviving evidence permits. To that end, the editorial appendix includes a historical note by Hershel Parker, the dean of Melville scholars, which gives a compelling, in-depth account of how one of America's greatest writers grew into the vocation of a poet; an essay by G. Thomas Tanselle on the printing and publishing history of the works in Published Poems; a textual record that identifies the copy-texts for the present edition and explains the editorial policy; and substantial scholarly notes on individual poems.