Selected poems of Herman Melville

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D.R. Godine, Apr 30, 2004 - Poetry - 465 pages
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First published in 1970, Warren's edition remains the most comprehensive selection of Melville's poetry ever presented. It brings together the best of the Civil War poems from Battle-Pieces (1866), the portraits of sailors from John Marr (1888), and the autumnal lyrics from Timoleon (1891), as well as poems uncollected during Melville's lifetime. Central to the selection are several self-contained passages from Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage to the Holy Land (1876), a book-length work that Warren calls "an important document of our modernity ... in fact, a precursor to The Waste Land, with the same central image, the same flickering contrasts of the past and the present, the same charade of belief and unbelief."
Warren introduces his selection with a valuable interpretive essay, and also provides copious textual and critical notes.

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Selected Poems Of Herman Melville: A Reader's Edition (Nonpareil Book)

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Edited by Robert Penn Warren (who also provides a 71-page introduction), this 1970 collection is the most extensive gathering of Melville's poetry available and solidified his reputation as a poet ... Read full review


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About the author (2004)

Herman Melville was born in 1819 in New York City. After his father's death he left school for a series of clerical jobs before going to sea as a young man of nineteen. At twenty-one he shipped aboard the whaler "Acushnet" and began a series of adventures in the South Seas that would last for three years and form the basis for his first two novels, "Typee" and "Omoo." Although these two novels sold well and gained for Melville a measure of fame, nineteenth-century readers were puzzled by the experiments with form that he began with his third novel, "Mardi, " and continued brilliantly in his masterpiece, "Moby-Dick." During his later years spent working as a customs inspector on the New York docks, Melville published only poems, compiled in a collection entitled "Battle-Pieces, " and died in 1891 with "Billy Budd, Sailor, " now considered a classic, still unpublished.

Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989) won three Pulitzer Prizes, the National Book Award, the National Medal for Literature, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1986 he was named the country's first poet laureate.

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