Herman Melville


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Herman Melville

  1. 1. Herman Melville American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet
  2. 2. Biography of <ul><li>Born in NYC on August 1, 1819 </li></ul><ul><li>Third child of Allan and Maria Melvill </li></ul><ul><li>When Allan Melvill died, Maria added an “e” to their last name </li></ul><ul><li>Grandson of Major Thomas Melvill, an honored survivor of the Boston Tea Party, and the subject of Oliver Wendell Holmes’s poem, “The Last Leaf”. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Education and Poverty <ul><li>New York Male School, now known as Columbia Preparatory School </li></ul><ul><li>Melville’s father couldn’t afford NYMS, and moved his family to Albany to go into the fur business </li></ul><ul><li>Because of the strain of the War of 1812, Melville’s father had to declare bankruptcy </li></ul><ul><li>At the age of 12, Melville’s father died and left his family penniless </li></ul><ul><li>Ended up at Albany Academy </li></ul>
  4. 4. Early Working Life <ul><li>Worked as a surveyor on the Erie Canal </li></ul><ul><li>His was let go as a surveyor, and his brother got him a job as cabin boy on a New York ship headed towards Liverpool </li></ul><ul><li>He taught school at the Albany Academy </li></ul>
  5. 5. Acushnet <ul><li>On January 3, 1841, he sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts on the whaler, Acushnet </li></ul><ul><li>Melville notes that his life began the day he set sail on Acushnet </li></ul><ul><li>Moby Dick tells many of Melville’s stories while on Acushnet </li></ul><ul><li>Melville deserted the Acushnet, and lived among Typee cannibals, which inspired the story, “Typee” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Typee” had a hard time getting published, but once it did, it became an overnight sensation </li></ul><ul><li>Due to the popularity of “Typee”, he wrote the sequel “Omoo” </li></ul>
  6. 6. Marriages <ul><li>Melville married Elizabeth Shaw, daughter of chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court </li></ul><ul><li>Their anniversary is August 4, 1847 </li></ul><ul><li>The couple honeymooned in Canada </li></ul><ul><li>They had four children </li></ul><ul><li>Purchased a farm house called Arrowhead </li></ul>
  7. 7. Melville’s BFF <ul><li>While at Arrowhead, Melville befriended Nathaniel Hawthrone, author of The Scarlet Letter </li></ul><ul><li>Hawthorne served as Melville’s only friend </li></ul><ul><li>Melville even went as far as dedicating Moby Dick to Hawthorne </li></ul>
  8. 8. HERMAN MELVILLE CRAZY <ul><li>On September 8, 1852, The New York Day Book published the above headline and attacked Melville’s work </li></ul><ul><li>He was called a raving madman and deranged </li></ul><ul><li>Supposedly was placed under treatment for his mental illness and has his pen and paper taken away from him </li></ul><ul><li>Harper & Brothers stopped publishing his work </li></ul>
  9. 9. His Novels <ul><li>Moby Dick </li></ul><ul><li>Billy Budd </li></ul><ul><li>White-Jacket </li></ul><ul><li>Israel Potter </li></ul><ul><li>Redburn </li></ul><ul><li>Typee </li></ul><ul><li>Omoo </li></ul><ul><li>Pierre </li></ul><ul><li>The Confidence Man </li></ul>
  10. 10. After Writing <ul><li>He lectured on the South Seas </li></ul><ul><li>His wife got him a job as customs inspector for the city of New York, where he stayed for 19 years </li></ul><ul><li>He became known as the only honest man working in customs </li></ul>
  11. 11. His last shot <ul><li>Melville’s last effort was a 16,000-line poem, entitled “Clarel” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Clarel” is about his trip to the Holy Land </li></ul><ul><li>His uncle paid for the publication of the poem due to Melville’s pleas </li></ul><ul><li>Not only did the poem fail miserably, but the unsold copies were burned, because no one, including Melville, could and/or would buy it </li></ul>
  12. 12. Family Drama <ul><li>He was in an unhappy marriage </li></ul><ul><li>He was a rumored to be an alcoholic, mentally ill, and a wife-beater </li></ul><ul><li>His oldest son shot himself and his second son died at a young age as well </li></ul><ul><li>He was severely depressed </li></ul>
  13. 13. Death <ul><li>Before he died, he was working on a novella, but unfortunately, left it unfinished. </li></ul><ul><li>Literary scholar, Raymond Weaver, finished the novella and published on Melville’s behalf, posthumously </li></ul><ul><li>He died on September 28, 1891 due to cardiac dilation </li></ul><ul><li>He is buried in the Bronx </li></ul>
  14. 14. The Melville Revival <ul><li>Raymond Weaver wrote a biography entitled “Herman Melville: Man, Mariner, and Mystic” and also finished Melville’s novella </li></ul><ul><li>Inspired Carl Van Doren’s The American Novel </li></ul><ul><li>Inspired D.H. Lawrence’s Studies in the Classic Literature </li></ul><ul><li>Inspired Lewis Mumford’s Herman Melville: A Study of His Life and Vision </li></ul><ul><li>Inspired Jay Leyda’s Melville Log </li></ul><ul><li>Inspired Newton Arvin’s Herman Melville, which won the nonfiction National Book Award </li></ul>
  15. 15. Moby Dick <ul><li>A story of a sailor out to get revenge on a whale </li></ul><ul><li>Melville’s most famous work and thought to be one of the greatest literary works of all time </li></ul><ul><li>The book brought in minimal revenue ($556.37) </li></ul><ul><li>The original publication produced 3,000 copies, which a majority never sold </li></ul>
  16. 16. Quiz