Poems by the author of Moby Dick. He explains, "With few exceptions, the Pieces in this volume originated in an impulse imparted by the fall of Richmond. They were composed without reference to collective arrangement, but being brought together in review, naturally fall into the order assumed. The events and incidents of the conflict--making up a whole, in varied amplitude, corresponding with the geographical ...
Poems by the author of Moby Dick. He explains, "With few exceptions, the Pieces in this volume originated in an impulse imparted by the fall of Richmond. They were composed without reference to collective arrangement, but being brought together in review,
naturally fall into the order assumed. The events and incidents of the conflict--making up a whole, in varied amplitude, corresponding with the geographical area covered by the
war--from these but a few themes have been taken, such as for any cause
chanced to imprint themselves upon the mind. The aspects which the strife as a memory assumes are as manifold as are the moods of involuntary meditation--moods variable, and at times widely at variance. Yielding instinctively, one after another, to feelings not
inspired from any one source exclusively, and unmindful, without purposing to be, of consistency..."
After publishing five novels, some of which flourished and others that floundered, Melville turned his pen to poetry. Melville based his Civil War poems on firsthand experience, and rather than glorify battle, he depicts the horrors and the waste of it.
Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 - September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. He is best known for his novel Moby-Dick. His first three books gained much contemporary attention (the first, Typee, became a bestseller), but after a fast-blooming literary success in the late 1840s, his popularity declined precipitously in the mid-1850s and never recovered during his lifetime.
When he died in 1891, he was almost completely forgotten. It was not until the "Melville Revival" in the early 20th century that his work won recognition, especially Moby-Dick, which was hailed as one of the literary masterpieces of both American and world literature. In 1919, the unfinished manuscript for his novella Billy Budd was discovered by his first biographer. He published a version in 1924, which was quickly acclaimed by notable British critics as another masterpiece of Melville's. He was the first writer to have his works collected and published by the Library of America.
Herman Melville was born in August 1, 1819, in New York City, the son of a merchant. Only twelve when his father died bankrupt, young Herman tried work as a bank clerk, as a cabin-boy on a trip to Liverpool, and as an elementary schoolteacher, before shipping in January 1841 on the whaler Acushnet, bound for the Pacific. Deserting ship the following year in the Marquesas, he made his way to Tahiti and Honolulu, returning as ordinary seaman on the frigate United States to Boston, where he was discharged in October 1844. Books based on these adventures won him immediate success. By 1850 he was married, had acquired a farm near Pittsfield, Massachussetts (where he was the impetuous friend and neighbor of Nathaniel Hawthorne), and was hard at work on his masterpiece Moby-Dick.
Literary success soon faded; his complexity increasingly alienated readers. After a visit to the Holy Land in January 1857, he turned from writing prose fiction to poetry. In 1863, during the Civil War, he moved back to New York City, where from 1866-1885 he was a deputy inspector in the Custom House, and where, in 1891, he died. A draft of a final prose work, Billy Budd, Sailor, was left unfinished and uncollated, packed tidily away by his widow, where it remained until its rediscovery and publication in 1924.