Pierre or The Ambiguities

Pierre or The Ambiguities

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by Herman Melville
     
 

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Herman Melville (1819-1891), now at the center of the American literary canon, was wildly dismissed for this labyrinthine effort. With the Boston Post writing upon its release, "it might be supposed to emanate from a lunatic hospital rather than from the quiet retreats of Berkshire." Perhaps Melville's most difficult and wildly textured work, "Pierre: Or, The

Overview

Herman Melville (1819-1891), now at the center of the American literary canon, was wildly dismissed for this labyrinthine effort. With the Boston Post writing upon its release, "it might be supposed to emanate from a lunatic hospital rather than from the quiet retreats of Berkshire." Perhaps Melville's most difficult and wildly textured work, "Pierre: Or, The Ambiguities", (1852) to this day evades easy categorization or critical interpretation. Now seen as an ambitious foray into proto-modernist composition, the text was initially met with utter consternation and was a commercial failure. Published a year after his magnum opus "Moby Dick, or, The Whale", "Pierre" tracks the nineteen year old Pierre Glendinning through his life in New York City as a fledgling novelist. Mr. Melville himself can be seen in the melodramatic life of Pierre. Wrestling with the literary trends of transcendentalism that pervaded his day, the novel, on some level, also parodies the gothic tradition of grand morality. But it is this morality that is brought into focus, scrutinizing it only as Melville can. Spoken of as "word piled upon word, and syllable heaped upon syllable, until the tongue grows as bewildered as the mind, and both refuse to perform their offices from sheer inability to grasp the magnitude of the absurdities...", the torrential dismay that this novel was met with now sounds like the unknown beginnings of a revolution. Experimental and without reservations, "Pierre" will remain a glowing oddity of American literature.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781455411573
Publisher:
B&R Samizdat Express
Publication date:
04/01/2011
Sold by:
Smashwords
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

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, becoming a bestseller), and 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. He was the first writer to have his works collected and published by the Library of America.

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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Pierre, or, The Ambiguities 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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