About the Author
Born in New York City, Herman Melville (1819–1891) was a schoolteacher, merchant vessel “green hand,” short-story writer, poet of the American Renaissance, and novelist best known for Typee, Billy Budd, and Moby Dick.
The son of a modest dry-goods tradesman, Melville was mostly self-educated before embarking on a life as a sailor aboard whaling ships. The experiences at sea would inform his novels Typee, Omoo, and eventually his most ambitious work, Moby Dick. After a cool critical reception of his novels, Melville turned to the more profitable career of writing short stories and, as a more personally fulfilling venture, two volumes of poetry. At the time of his death, Melville passed unnoticed by the literary world. Today he is considered one of the most innovative and influential American writers of all time.