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Melville Essay

2341 words - 9 pages

'As an author Melville both courted failure and scorned success.'(pg. 613, ACompanion to Melville Studies). How many famous legends in time have existed toknow no fame. How many remarkable artist have lived and died never receiving duecredit for their work. Herman Melville is clearly an artist of words. Herman Melville iscertainly a prodigy when it comes to writing. Herman Melville never received hardly anycredit for any of his works. Melville wrote such novels as Moby-Dick, and Billy Budd.Melville wrote about things that he knew about. He wrote about his own experiences.The one thing that he loved, and knew the most about was whaling.Herman Melville was born in 1819, the son of Allan and Maria Melville. He wasone of a Family of eight children - four boys and four girls - who was raised comfortablyin a nice neighborhood in New York City. Herman Melville came from a famous bloodline out of Albany, NY. Melville's grandfather, General Peter Gansevoort, was a hero.Even though the General died six years before Melville was born, Melville still put himin his book, Pierre.On the outer side of the blood line there was Major Melville. The Major was awealthy Boston merchant who was one of the famous 'Mohawks' who boarded the shipof the East India Company that night of 1773, and dumped the cargo in to the BostonHarbor. Later Major Melville became the Naval Officer of The Port of Boston, a postgiven to him by Gorge Washington. It is like the two blood lines fitted together perfectlyto create Herman Melville. Herman had the strength of the General, and the crazy hartof the Major.Herman Melville was 'hardly more than a boy' when he ran out to sea after hisfathers death. A young Melville sighed up as a boy on the St. Lawrence to Liverpool andback to New York. Many of the events that show up in Melville's Redburn are actuarialevents that happened of his first voyage. After returning home and finding his mothersfamily fortune gone, Melville decided to take a journey over land this time to theMississippi river to visit his Uncle Thomas. Through out all of Melville's work the imageof inland landscapes, of farms, prairies, rivers, lakes, and forest recur as a counterpoint tothe barren sea. Also in Moby-Dick Melville tells how he was a 'Vagabond' on the ErieCanal, which was the way Melville returned.Melville wrote that it was not the lakes or forest that sank in as much as the'oceanic vastness and the swell of the one and in the wide, slow, watery restlessness,'(pg.Arving), of the prairies. Some even think of the novel, Pierre, as a 'A prairie in print,wanting the flowers and freshness of the savanah, but all most equally puzzling to find away through it.' (Pg. 1, On Melville.) About a year latter Melville signed up asforemasthand on the whaler Acushnet, which set sail on the third of January, 1841, thatset sail from New Bedford. Many events of his voyage directly correspond with those inhis novel, Typee.Melville set up residence in the Taipi-Vai valley, which he...

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