Herman Melville (1819 - 1891) was an American novelist, poet, and writer of short stories. His contributions to the Western canon are the whaling novel Moby-Dick (1851); the short work Bartleby, the Scrivener (1853) about a clerk in a Wall Street office; the slave ship narrative Benito Cereno (1855); and Billy Budd, Sailor (1924). When asked which of the great American writers he most admired, Vladimir Nabokov replied: "When I was young I liked Poe, and I still love Melville, whom I did not read as a boy."
Around his twentieth year he was a schoolteacher for a short time, then became a seaman when his father met business reversals. On his first voyage he jumped ship in the Marquesas Islands, where he lived for a time. His first book, an account of that time, Typee, became a bestseller and Melville became known as the "man who lived among the cannibals". After Omoo, the sequel to his first book, Melville began to work philosophical issues in his third book, the elaborate Mardi (1849). The public indifference to Moby-Dick (1851), and Pierre (1852), put an end to his career as a popular author. From 1853 to 1856 he wrote short fiction for magazines, collected as The Piazza Tales (1856).
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About the Author
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