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Herman Melville

Herman Melville

This American writer has a place on this list thanks, above all, to his novel “Moby Dick”. This book, on the hunt of a man to a large white whale, is considered one of the best American novels ever written. Moby Dick is loaded with symbolism, but is also famous for the details of the whaling industry in the NINETEENTH century and its many different styles and narrative structures. Other essential books are: “Typee, a cannibal Eden” or “Billy Budd, Sailor”.




Life and work of Herman Melville

(New York, 1819-ID, 1891) American novelist. At the age of eleven he moved with his family to Albany, where he studied until, two years later, after the bankruptcy of the family business, he had to get to work. The difficulty in finding a stable job led him, in 1841, to enlist in a whaler. Fruit of his deep sea experiences were Typee (1846) and Omoo (1847), written on his return to the United States in 1844.

In 1847 he married, and two years later he published Mardi. Since it had been labeled as author of novels of Voyages and Adventures, the symbolism of this work disconcerted criticism and public, which rejected it. In 1849 appeared Redburn and a year later the White Warrior, in which arremetía fiercely against the stiffness of the American Navy. With these works he regained the favor of the public, but it was already warned of the increasing complexity that was going to characterize his later works, influenced by the symbolism of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Herman Melville
Herman Melville

In 1850 it published Moby Dick, work also rejected. This novel, considered one of the great works of the universal literature, hid a great metaphor of the world and human nature: the Incensante search for the absolute that always escapes and the coexistence of good and evil in man, and this after an argument Apparently simple: Captain Ahab’s obsession with killing Moby Dick, the white whale.

Pierre (1852) and Tales of the Viewpoint (1856), which contains the account “Bartleby the scribe”, considered one of the antecedents of the work of Kafka, let see the increasing contempt of the author for the human hypocrisy. Israel Potter (1855) and the confidant (1857) were the last works he published in life. Forgotten by all, his novel Billy Budd did not appear until 1924. Melville’s work is one of the tops of the American romantic Current.

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