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Benito Cereno

Overview

This harrowing account of a slave revolt is one of Melville's finest tales. When a New England sea captain goes to aid a mysterious ship, it slowly unfolds, in almost surreal clarity, that it is a slave ship whose cargo has revolted, its captain is a prisoner and most of the crew has been murdered.
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Benito Cereno

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Overview

This harrowing account of a slave revolt is one of Melville's finest tales. When a New England sea captain goes to aid a mysterious ship, it slowly unfolds, in almost surreal clarity, that it is a slave ship whose cargo has revolted, its captain is a prisoner and most of the crew has been murdered.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I wanted them all, even those I'd already read."
—Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

"Small wonders."
Time Out London

"[F]irst-rate…astutely selected and attractively packaged…indisputably great works."
—Adam Begley, The New York Observer

"I’ve always been haunted by Bartleby, the proto-slacker. But it’s the handsomely minimalist cover of the Melville House edition that gets me here, one of many in the small publisher’s fine 'Art of the Novella' series."
The New Yorker

"The Art of the Novella series is sort of an anti-Kindle. What these singular, distinctive titles celebrate is book-ness. They're slim enough to be portable but showy enough to be conspicuously consumed—tiny little objects that demand to be loved for the commodities they are."
—KQED (NPR San Francisco)

"Some like it short, and if you're one of them, Melville House, an independent publisher based in Brooklyn, has a line of books for you... elegant-looking paperback editions ...a good read in a small package."
The Wall Street Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781495285035
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication date: 1/22/2014
  • Pages: 100
  • Sales rank: 175,958
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.21 (d)

Meet the Author

In addition to writing many sea novels, Herman Melville is the best known author of the highly acclaimed American novel, Moby Dick (1851). It is quite unfortunate how the masterpiece was given due recognition 30 years after the death of its author. However, during his lifetime, Herman Melville became popular for writing a fictional travel narrative, Type (1846).

Herman Melville was born in New York on August 1, 1819 to a rich mercantile family which declined due to great losses in business. Herman was the third child of his parents who had 8. His father, Allan Melville was an importer of French dry goods who died after going bankrupt when Melville was 12 years old. Herman’s mother Maria Gansevoort Melville then raised her children with a little occasional help from some rich relatives. A short episode of scarlet fever affected Melville’s eyesight permanently in 1826. In 1835 he went to school at Albany Classical School (NY). After leaving school at the age of 12, Herman worked at several jobs as a clerk, teacher and farmhand. He also studied Shakespeare and other technical, historical and anthropological works despite his bad eyesight.

Melville was thirsty for adventure and in 1839 he set out to sea. In 1841, Herman sailed on a whaler bound. His adventures continued and in 1842 he was on a ship in the Marquesas Islands. His Polynesian adventures produced his early successful novels, Typee (1846) and Omoo (1847). However, his upcoming novel, Mardi (1849) did not do well. In the same year he wrote Redburn (1849) followed by White-Jacket (1850), a book depicting the tough life of sailors, in the next year. Shortly after White-Jacket, came Moby Dick (1851), his distinguished contribution to American literature. Moby Dick, a whaling fictional narrative symbolically touched the tribulations of American democracy. Sadly, Moby Dick did not prove to be rewarding for Melville at the time of its publication and instead put him in despair at not receiving any acclamation.

Elisabeth Shaw, daughter of the chief justice of Massachusetts had married Melville in 1847 and they had four children. Herman Melville died in New York on September 28, 1891. Considered an ordinary writer during his lifetime, Herman Melville’s name now enjoys a place of paramount importance in the American literature. (famousauthors.com)

Biography

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.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Date of Birth:
      August 1, 1819
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      September 28, 1891
    2. Place of Death:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      Attended the Albany Academy in Albany, New York, until age 15

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2012

    If you can handle a vigorous read this story in awesome!

    If you struggle reading 19th century literature then this probably isnt a story for you; but melville's precise use of language and style is very impressive and makes an enticing and dynamic read. One of my favorite short stories. Worth the mental work out to read it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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