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In The Value of Herman Melville, Geoffrey Sanborn presents Melville to us neither as a somber purveyor of dark truths nor as an ironist who has outthought us in advance but as a quasi-maternal provider, a writer who wants more than anything else to supply us with the means of enriching our experiences. In twelve brief chapters, Sanborn examines the distinctive qualities of Melville's style - its dynamism, its improvisatoriness, its intimacy with remembered or imagined events - and shows how those qualities, once they have become a part of our equipment for living, enable us to sink deeper roots into the world. Ranging across his career, but focusing in particular on Moby-Dick, 'Bartleby, the Scrivener', 'Benito Cereno', and Billy Budd, Sanborn shows us a Melville who is animating rather than overawing, who encourages us to bring more of ourselves to the present and to care more about the life that we share with others.