Josh Lapp Herman Melville 1819-1891 Born into rich family Family suddenly thrown into economical distress Father became gravely ill ? insane and physically ? when Melville was 11 12-13 years old, considered an adult Melville already interested in writing Turned to the sea as a career Paid very well once you got good Could move into it without any previous training Eventually married Lizzie Shaw Not his intellectual equal Supporter of Melville during troubling times of their lives Melville started reading a lot Mostly the Bible, but any other literature too Moby Dick laced with Biblical allusions ?Call me Ishmael? Typee ? adventure tale of South Seas complete with cannibals First novel Based on his adventures as a sailor Huge success ? nobody knew what sailing was like ? filled a niche Exciting and adventurous Omoo ? sequel to Typee Very popular Today they would be called commercial successes By 1850 ? ended career as a sailor Purchased farm in Pittsfield, MA Already met Hawthorne ? influenced Melville to write a more serious novel 1851 ? Moby Dick published ? dedicated to Nathaniel Hawthorne Dismal failure ? virtually ignored Family issues ? 2 sons died 1 committed suicide 1 mysteriously died in San Francisco Financial problems as well Lizzie?s father died ? small town judge Inherited a sum of money Allowed Melville to retire Billy Budd and Bartilby the Scrivener Two novellas When he died, manuscript for Billy Budd was on his desk with note attached ?Be true to your dreams of youth? 1920s ? Moby Dick being read again Scholars and critics saw power of work
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