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Herman Melville (Melvill) an American novelist, short story writer, and poet of the American Renaissance period, was born on August 1, 1819 at New York City, New York (state), U.S. He was one of the famous authors representing Romanticism Literary Movement. Even though, he didn’t garner much critical acclaim at the time of his death, his books started gaining popularity by the time of his centennial birth anniversary celebrations in 1919.
He was the third child of a prosperous merchant who died in 1832. This resulted in a great financial setback to his family. Melville joined a merchant ship as a common sailor in 1839 followed by a stint in a whaler whaler Acushnet until the jumping of the ship in the Marquesas Islands which inspired him to write Typee, his first book, and its sequel, Omoo (1847) , travel adventures based on his experiences with the inhabitants of the island. The books were successful and he earned enough money to marry Elizabeth Knapp Shaw (1822–1906) in 1847. His next book, Mardi (1849), a romance-adventure, which was not based on his experience, got a poor response. His subsequent books, Redburn (1849) and White-Jacket (1850), we’re inspired by his experience at the sea got good reviews but not enough to support his family.
He took a year and a half to write his masterpiece, Moby-Dick, in 1851, which didn’t get a warm response. His psychological novel Pierre: or, The Ambiguities (1852) was a failure. This didn’t stop him from pursuing his passion for writing and continued submitting short fiction for magazines, from 1853 to 1856.He went to England in 1857 to publish his last work of prose, The Confidence-Man. He returned to New York in 1863 as the United States customs inspector.
He shifted his focus from writing prose to poetry with the publication of Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War (1866) based on the moral questions pertaining to the American Civil War. His family life had a great setback when he lost his elder son, Malcolm, who committed suicide by self-inflicted gun shot and the second son, Stanwix, died of tuberculosis. Melville retired and privately published two volumes of poetry, and left one volume unpublished. He started writing a novella Billy Budd which was left incomplete and published posthumously in 1924.
Melville left for the heavenly abode on September 28, 1891 (aged 72) at New York City, New York (state), U.S. He died of a cardiovascular disease but left behind a rich legacy of great books. I appreciate his dedication towards writing. The success or failure of his books didn’t bother him and he continued to write. This should be an inspiration for all the budding writers. Don’t give up because of a few setback to your writing endeavors. Believe in yourself and one day, success will be yours.
His best work :
Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life (1846)
Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas (1847)
Mardi: and a Voyage Thither (1849)
Redburn: His First Voyage (1849)
White-Jacket; or, The World in a Man-of-War (1850)
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (1851)
Pierre; or, The Ambiguities (1852)
Isle of the Cross (1853 unpublished, and now lost)”
Bartleby, the Scrivener” (1853) (short story)”
The Encantadas, or Enchanted Isles” (1854) (novella)
“Benito Cereno” (1855) (novella)
Israel Potter: His Fifty Years of Exile (1855)
The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade (1857)
Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War (1866) (poetry collection)
Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land (1876) (epic poem)
John Marr and Other Sailors (1888) (poetry collection)
Timoleon (1891) (poetry collection)
Billy Budd, Sailor (An Inside Narrative) (1891 unfinished, published posthumously in 1924; authoritative edition in 1962)
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