Melville: His World and Work

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Vintage Books, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 415 pages
If Dickens was nineteenth-century London personified, Herman Melville was the quintessential American. With a historian's perspective and a critic's insight, award-winning author Andrew Delbanco marvelously demonstrates that Melville was very much a man of his era and that he recorded — in his books, letters, and marginalia; and in conversations with friends like Nathaniel Hawthorne and with his literary cronies in Manhattan — an incomparable chapter of American history. From the bawdy storytelling of Typee to the spiritual preoccupations building up to and beyond Moby Dick, Delbanco brilliantly illuminates Melville's life and work, and his crucial role as a man of American letters.
 

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User Review  - pbandy - LibraryThing

An absolutely perfect companion for any Melville reader. Delbonco takes time when necessary to delve deeply into Melville's personal life while not dragging out too many tedious details. His analysis ... Read full review

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User Review  - arielgm - LibraryThing

This excellent biography is prefaced by a revision of the ‘Extracts’ section at the beginning of Moby Dick. Where the original consists of literary and historical references to whales and whaling ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Andrew Delbanco is the author of The Death of Satan (1995), Required Reading: Why Our American Classics Matter Now (1997), and The Real American Dream (1999), all of which were NYTBR notable books. The Puritan Ordeal (1989) won the Lionel Trilling Award from Columbia University. He has edited Writing New England (2001), The Portable Abraham Lincoln (1992), volume two of The Sermons of Ralph Waldo Emerson (with Teresa Toulouse), and, with Alan Heimert, The Puritans in America (1985). His essays appear regularly in The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, The New York Times Book Review, Granta, Partisan Review, Raritan, and other journals.

In 2001 he was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2003 named New York State Scholar of the Year by the New York Council for the Humanities. He is a trustee of the National Humanities Center and the Library of America, and has served as Vice President of PEN American Center. Since 1995 he has held the Julian Clarence Levi Professor Chair in the Humanities at Columbia University.

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