Are you between 5 and 25? If so, enter the Wicked Young Writer Awards NOW - click here for details...

tudor queens series
Search our site
Last Letter from Istanbul by Lucy Foley Read the opening extract of the brand new Lucy Foley book before its publication on 19/03/2018

Pierre, or the Ambiguities by Herman Melville
  

Synopsis

Pierre, or the Ambiguities by Herman Melville

HarperCollins is proud to present this controversial masterpiece of American literature, now restored to its original form and illuminated with 30 full-color pictures by Maurice Sendak.

About the Author

Herman Melville was born Herman Melvill (the ‘e’ was added in the 1830s) on 1 August, 1819, in New York City to a wealthy importer.

The Melvilles moved to Albany after Herman’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.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

31st December 1972

Author

Herman Melville

More books by Herman Melville
Author 'Like for Like'
    recommendations

Author's Website

www.melville.org/

Publisher

Northwestern University Press

Format

Paperback
435 pages

Categories

Classic fiction (pre c 1945)

ISBN

9780810102675

At Lovereading there are fabulous books available in every genre, with great reviews to help you pick the right book for you.

Teresa O'Halloran

The books for review are always great reads, brilliantly written, and introduces me to a huge variety of, established and new, authors.

Lesley Hart

Lovereading recommends, honestly reviews and promotes books-what more can I say?!

Rachel Bridgeman

You can trust Lovereading to show unbiased reviews by actual, ordinary readers that help likeminded booklovers choose their next great read.

Linda Hill

I love Lovereading for the wonderful like for like author recommendations and for highlighting new books, it's a great resource for readers!

Lindsay

Lovereading is like booking a holiday, you don't know what it will be like and it is a whole new experience.

Sue Burton

Lovereading is a wonderful way to expand my literary horizons, discover inspiring authors & get the chance to read new novels first. #loveit

Zarina de Ruiter

Its jam packed with fantastic titles, informative descriptions & fantastic reviews and has a vast array of great features & competitions.

Linda Rollins

Lovereading4kids

Lovereading4schools