Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas

Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas

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by Herman Melville
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940020499683
Publisher:
New York : Penguin Books
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
607 KB

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.

Brief Biography

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

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