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Children's LiteratureFor modern students the name Herman Melville conjures up images of great white whales, sea stories set in distant lands, and struggles between good and evil. Yet, what may surprise current readers is the fact that Herman Melville lived almost his entire life in financial ruin and broad-based critical scorn. In this selection from the "Bloom's Bio-Critiques" series, Harold Bloom presents the contradictory life and work of this famous American author. As is the case with other books in this sophisticated series, this title presents a series of in-depth essays focused upon the life and work of the featured author. In Melville's case his life featured a combination of grinding work and great critical rejection of his writing. During his lifetime Melville's novels were seen as scandalous and vague, his poetry was rejected as insignificant, and his stories were either rejected as fanciful or heaped with scorn for being irreverent. It was not until years after his death that future critics and readers resurrected the work of Melville. In this particular book, editor Bloom offers a weighty biography and critical essays that analyze the work and themes of Melville. The end result is an informative, albeit somewhat intellectualized, look at this 19th century author. This is a book for serious students of Melville or those engaging in advanced studies of his writings. As such this title will serve a purpose for those who wish to critically study the life and work of this now renowned American author. 2006, Chelsea House Publishers, Ages 14 up.
—Greg M. Romaneck