Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas


Herman Melville drew upon his experiences as a sailor in the South Seas for this 1847 work. Omoo takes its title from a Polynesian term referring to a rover--someone who wanders from island to island, as Melville did over a three-month period.

Resuming his narrative where Typee left off, the author recounts his rescue from an island of cannibals by a British whaler. When the ship's disgruntled crew stages an unsuccessful mutiny, the narrator finds himself--along with the ...

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Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas

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Herman Melville drew upon his experiences as a sailor in the South Seas for this 1847 work. Omoo takes its title from a Polynesian term referring to a rover--someone who wanders from island to island, as Melville did over a three-month period.

Resuming his narrative where Typee left off, the author recounts his rescue from an island of cannibals by a British whaler. When the ship's disgruntled crew stages an unsuccessful mutiny, the narrator finds himself--along with the mutineers--imprisoned in a Tahitian jail. There, he and a companion, Doctor Long Ghost, are treated kindly by the curious, amiable natives. After their release, the two men travel about the region, experiencing a series of adventures as they observe traditional rites and customs, work at odd jobs, contrive an audience with the Tahitian Queen (it is a dismal failure), and note the disturbing influences of the missionaries and planters on local culture.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781143979118
  • Publisher: Nabu Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Pages: 346
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

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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

Table of Contents

Chapter I My Reception Aboard 1
Chapter II Some Account of the Ship 5
Chapter III Further Account of the Julia 9
Chapter IV A Scene in the Forecastle 12
Chapter V What Happened at Hytyhoo 15
Chapter VI We Touch at La Dominica 19
Chapter VII What happened at Hannamanoo 21
Chapter VIII The Tattooers of La Dominica 25
Chapter IX We steer to the Westward--State of Affairs 28
Chapter X A Sea-parlour described, with some of its Tenants 33
Chapter XI Doctor Long Ghost a Wag--One of his Capers 36
Chapter XII Death and Burial of Two of the Crew 39
Chapter XIII Our Destination changed 45
Chapter XIV Rope Yarn 46
Chapter XV Chips and Bungs 50
Chapter XVI We encounter a Gale 52
Chapter XVII The Coral Islands 54
Chapter XVIII Tahiti 58
Chapter XIX A Surprise--More about Bembo 60
Chapter XX The Round Robin--Visitors from Shore 66
Chapter XXI Proceedings of the Consul 70
Chapter XXII The Consul's Departure 76
Chapter XXIII The Second Night off Papeetee 78
Chapter XXIV Outbreak of the Crew 83
Chapter XXV Jermin encounters an old Shipmate 85
Chapter XXVI We enter the Harbour--Jim the Pilot 88
Chapter XXVII A Glance at Papeetee--We are sent aboard the Frigate 93
Chapter XXVIII Reception from the Frenchman 97
Chapter XXIX The Reine Blanche 99
Chapter XXX They take Us Ashore--What happened there 102
Chapter XXXI The Calabooza Beretanee 106
Chapter XXXII Proceedings of the French at Tahiti 112
Chapter XXXIII We receive Calls at the Hotel de Calabooza 117
Chapter XXXIV Life at the Calabooza 121
Chapter XXXV Visit from an old Acquaintance 123
Chapter XXXVI We are carried before the Consul and Captain 128
Chapter XXXVII The French Priests pay their Respects 131
Chapter XXXVIII Little Jule sails without Us 135
Chapter XXXIX Jermin serves Us a Good Turn--Friendships in Polynesia 140
Chapter XL We take unto Ourselves Friends 145
Chapter XLI We Levy Contributions on the Shipping 147
Chapter XLII Motoo-Otoo--A Tahitian Casuist 150
Chapter XLIII One is judged by the Company He keeps 153
Chapter XLIV Cathedral of Papoar--The Church of the Cocoanuts 155
Chapter XLV A Missionary's Sermon; with some Reflections 159
Chapter XLVI Something about the Kannakippers 164
Chapter XLVII How They dress in Tahiti 168
Chapter XLVIII Tahiti as it is 171
Chapter XLIX Same Subject continued 177
Chapter L Something happens to Long Ghost 181
Chapter LI Wilson gives us the Cut--Departure for Imeeo 185
Chapter LII The Valley of Martair 188
Chapter LIII Farming in Polynesia 192
Chapter LIV Some Account of the Wild Cattle in Polynesia 196
Chapter LV A Hunting Ramble with Zeke 199
Chapter LVI Mosquitoes 203
Chapter LVII The Second Hunt in the Mountains 205
Chapter LVIII The Hunting-Feast; and a Visit to Afrehitoo 210
Chapter LIX The Murphies 212
Chapter LX What they thought of Us in Martair 216
Chapter LXI Preparing for the Journey 219
Chapter LXII Tamai 222
Chapter LXIII A Dance in the Valley 225
Chapter LXIV Mysterious 227
Chapter LXV The Hegira, or Flight 229
Chapter LXVI How We were to get to Taloo 234
Chapter LXVII The Journey round the Beach 236
Chapter LXVIII A Dinner-Party in Imeeo 242
Chapter LXIX The Cocoa-Palm 245
Chapter LXX Life at Loohooloo 249
Chapter LXXI We start for Taloo 251
Chapter LXXII A Dealer in the Contraband 255
Chapter LXXIII Our Reception in Partoowye 259
Chapter LXXIV Retiring for the Night--The Doctor grows Devout 264
Chapter LXXV A Ramble through the Settlement 267
Chapter LXXVI An Island Jilt--We Visit the Ship 270
Chapter LXXVII A Party of Rovers--Little Loo and the Doctor 274
Chapter LXXVIII Mrs. Bell 277
Chapter LXXIX Taloo Chapel--Holding Court in Polynesia 279
Chapter LXXX Queen Pomaree 284
Chapter LXXXI We visit the Court 289
Chapter LXXXII Which ends the Book 294
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