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Herman Melville : Redburn, White-Jacket, Moby-Dick (Library of America) Hardcover – April 15, 1983
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About the Author
Literary success soon faded; his complexity increasingly alienated readers. After a visit to the Holy Land in January 1857, he turned from writing prose fiction to poetry. In 1863, during the Civil War, he moved back to New York City, where from 1866-1885 he was a deputy inspector in the Custom House, and where, in 1891, he died. A draft of a final prose work, Billy Budd, Sailor, was left unfinished and uncollated, packed tidily away by his widow, where it remained until its rediscovery and publication in 1924.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Redburn" is a highly readable coming-of-age novel with a strong autobiographical component. The protagonists suffers repeatedly from inexperience on his trip across the Atlantic, finds crushing poverty in the port city of Liverpool and returns home rather beaten up and disillusioned. This story helped me get ready for the psychological struggles, as well as the gradually unfolding tragedy, of the major characters in Moby-Dick.
"White-Jacket" was longer and took more of a concentrated effort to get through, but is an even better preparation for Moby-Dick and is an outstanding novel in its own right. The novice onboard the merchant ship of Redburn is replaced by the quiet and pragmatic survivor White-Jacket, who serves on a U.S. Navy vessel. The ways of the Navy had been rather primitive and brutal by the standards at the time, and Melville rails against the favoritism and corporal punishment in extended passages. The cast of characters is notably larger in White-Jacket than Redburn, and appear to represent actual figures in Melville's past as a sailor (Redburn seemed far more constructed as pure fiction).
"Redburn" and "White-Jacket" are great books on their own, but in this volume they serve as complimentary lead-ins to the different dimensions of Moby-Dick. As with the other Library of America volumes I've read through, I benefited from going through the entire contents in order.
The five earlier novels prepare for "Moby-Dick" although this novel goes well beyond anything in its predecessors. "Mardi" captures something of the wild, searching character of the book while "Typee" and "Omoo" with their exploration of Polynesian culture foreshadow Melville's portrayal of Queequeg in ""Moby-Dick". Melville spoke disparagingly of the two subsequent novels which begin this collection, but authors frequently misjudge their own work as Melville did here. "Redburn" and "White Jacket" lack the metaphysical fire of "Moby-Dick". Both books reward reading and both offer portrayals of the United States of Melville's time.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read part of Moby Dick a long time ago, and didn't love it, never finished it. But on the recommendation of a friend I gave it another try, and I can see now why so many people... Read morePublished 3 days ago by Arthur W. Brown
Melville, what can I add to what has been said and written? A true master of American letters.Published 4 months ago by Martin B. Cramer
As if I'm worthy of criticizing one the greatest writers in the English language. Ha! I recommend this edition for the quality of the binding and the collection of writings.Published 10 months ago by AntaeusQ
Library of America always puts out a comprehensive easy to read edition.Published 16 months ago by Lois N. Orchard
THE OTHER STORIES IN THE COLLECT WERE *** AT BEST.
I have trouble with HM's syntax with most of his novels. Read more