Browse Meet the Writers
Writers A-Z

Writers by Genre
  Featured Writers  
Children's Writers & Illustrators

Classic Writers

Mystery & Thriller Writers

Romance Writers
  Special Features  
Author Recommendations

Audio Interviews

Video Interviews

The Writers of 2006
Award Winners
Discover Great New Writers

National Book Award Fiction Writers

National Book Award Nonfiction Writers
Find a Store
Enter ZIP Code
Easy Returns
to any Barnes &
Noble store.
Meet the Writers
Herman Melville
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).

*Back to Top

About the Writer
*Herman Melville Home
* Biography
In Our Other Stores
*Herman Melville Movies
*Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life, 1846
*Omoo, 1847
*Mardi: and a Voyage Thither, 1849
*Redburn: His First Voyage, 1849
*White-Jacket; Or, The World in a Man-Of-War, 1850
*Moby-Dick, 1851
*Pierre; Or, The Ambiguities, 1852
*Israel Potter: His 50 Years of Exile, 1855
*The Piazza Tales, 1856
*The Confidence-Man, 1857
*Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War: Civil War Poems, 1866
*Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land, 1876
*John Marr and Other Sailers (Poems), 1888
*Timoleon, 1891
*Billy Budd, Sailor and Other Stories, 1924