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A Historical Guide to Herman Melville$
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Giles Gunn

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195142822

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195142822.001.0001

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Herman Melville 1819–1891 A Brief Biography

Herman Melville 1819–1891 A Brief Biography

(p.17) Herman Melville 1819–1891 A Brief Biography
A Historical Guide to Herman Melville

Robert Milder

Oxford University Press

After his death, Herman Melville was remembered as a writer who included much about the South Seas in his writings, and he was also known for integrating a certain degree of romance, truth, morbidity, and metaphysics in his works. One of Melville's admirers, Arthur Stedman, argued that providing a detailed version about Melville's life story would not be necessary, as three of his works — Typee, Omoo, and White-jacket — are in a way explicitly autobiographical. On another note, however, Melville's view of his writings was quite the opposite, since he believed that his life began with an inward growth that manifested some of his best individual writings. This chapter looks into Melville's early life as a writer and provides a brief discussion about his background.

Keywords:   South Seas, romance, truth, morbidity, metaphysics, Arthur Stedman, Typee, Omoo, White-Jacket, autobiography

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