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Herman Melville : Redburn, White-Jacket, Moby-Dick (Library of America) Hardcover – April 15, 1983


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Herman Melville : Redburn, White-Jacket, Moby-Dick (Library of America) + Herman Melville : Pierre, Israel Potter, The Piazza Tales, The Confidence-Man, Tales, Billy Budd (Library of America) + Herman Melville : Typee, Omoo, Mardi (Library of America)
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Product Details

  • Series: Library of America (Book 9)
  • Hardcover: 1436 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America (April 15, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0940450097
  • ISBN-13: 978-0940450097
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The Library of America is an award-winning, nonprofit program dedicated to publishing America's best and most significant writing in handsome, enduring volumes featuring authoritative texts. Hailed as "the most important book-publishing project in the nation's history" (Newsweek), this acclaimed series is restoring America's literary heritage in "the finest-looking, longest-lasting edition ever made" (New Republic).

About the Author

Herman Melville was born in August 1, 1819, in New York City, the son of a merchant. Only twelve when his father died bankrupt, young Herman tried work as a bank clerk, as a cabin-boy on a trip to Liverpool, and as an elementary schoolteacher, before shipping in January 1841 on the whaler Acushnet, bound for the Pacific. Deserting ship the following year in the Marquesas, he made his way to Tahiti and Honolulu, returning as ordinary seaman on the frigate United States to Boston, where he was discharged in October 1844. Books based on these adventures won him immediate success. By 1850 he was married, had acquired a farm near Pittsfield, Massachussetts (where he was the impetuous friend and neighbor of Nathaniel Hawthorne), and was hard at work on his masterpiece Moby-Dick.

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.

Customer Reviews

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LOA produces very nice editions, and this is no exception.
senexpuer
"Redburn" is a highly readable coming-of-age novel with a strong autobiographical component.
P. Kufahl
It is a wild, long, and passionate novel, one of the great works of literature.
Robin Friedman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By John Fischer on February 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
While White-Jacket seems to have little overall relation to Melville's other works in the sense that it appears as a self-contained, highly enjoyable novel, Redburn is one of those central turning points in this great writer's life that makes it extraordinarily important. Forget "adventure" or "romance." This is a novel of psychological destruction, a disasterous novel of "growing up" that displays the shattering of a young mind and the destruction of "young America." Any reader who loves Moby-Dick should devour Redburn again and again as one of Melville's most important works.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By P. Kufahl on January 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
.... before taking on Moby-Dick. This review is not intended to sway anybody towards getting this volume for Moby-Dick. The reputation of this novel as the greatest of American literature, and its role in any number of academic courses, will pretty much decide whether someone buys it. For the record, Moby-Dick fully lives up to its reputation as a great, sometimes difficult and rewarding book. My suggestion is that going through Redburn and White-Jacket will make reading through Moby-Dick more rewarding, and this volume makes an elegant combination of the three.

"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.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Adrian Ion on August 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book contains Melville's most important works about the sea: "Redburn", "White-Jacket", and (of course) "Moby-Dick". This is a wonderful edition of these works. The texts used are the authoritative Northwestern-Newberry versions. These versions were proof-read by Melville scholars for any errors that may have crept into older printings. Thus, you can enjoy "Moby-Dick" pretty much exactly as Melville intended you to do. This edition also features a notes section at the back, which helps the reader understand some of the obscure references and allusions that Melville often makes. Overall, I would say that this book is definitely worth the price. It will look nice in any library - and it is perfect for reading and enjoying the works of a literary master!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By felicitaz on February 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The text is easy to read, and I like the durable hardcover format. I wanted to buy "Moby Dick" at the local bookshop, but could only find paperback versions. For a book that length, you really need a more durable spine. The Library of America series is printed on acid-free paper, which means that when I'm ready to read "White-Jacket" or "Redburn", however many years in the future that may be, I can count on the pages not being discolored, like many of my older paperbacks. Reading "Moby Dick" is a serious undertaking; you need an edition with some gravitas. This is it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The novels of Herman Melville (1819 -- 1891) were among the first volumes published by the Library of America, a nonprofit organization devoted to presenting the best of American writing and thought in uniform hardcover editions. At the time of his death, Melville was almost forgotten. Beginning in the 1920's, he achieved belated recognition and was established as a canonical American writer. Melville wrote nine novels, together with "Billy Budd" and short stories and they are included in three large LOA volumes. In 2000, when I was beginning to review on Amazon, I reviewed the first volume, consisting of Melville's first three novels, "Typee", "Omoo", and "Mardi",Herman Melville : Typee, Omoo, Mardi (Library of America) in a review I titled "Growth of a Seeker". Although I have read Melville in the intervening years, I am only now turning to the second LOA volume which includes, "Redburn", "White Jacket" and the book for which the author will always be remembered, "Moby-Dick."

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.
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Herman Melville : Redburn, White-Jacket, Moby-Dick (Library of America)
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