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Chapter 4 - Herman Melville

from Part I - Careers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 June 2022

Cody Marrs
Affiliation:
University of Georgia
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Summary

In 1851, Herman Melville completed and published the novel for which he has been most revered since the Melville Revival of the 1920s: Moby-Dick. By 1877, he had completed and published a work comparable in scope to Moby-Dick that would have been exceedingly difficult for his readers in 1851 to predict: Clarel, A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land, an 18,000-word-long poem. The years 1851–1877 marked a movement from Melville as a frustrated but still popular novelist raging against the publishing constraints of his era to a Melville who wrote extraordinarily ambitious poetry with no apparent interest in acquiring an audience beyond his own circle. The author of the “Great American Novel,” as many readers have described Moby-Dick, had become an obscure American poet, capable of work of great value that, unlike Moby-Dick, 1853’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener,” and the posthumous Billy Budd, Sailor, would not lend itself easily to recovery after the Melville Revival of the early twentieth century.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • Herman Melville
  • Edited by Cody Marrs, University of Georgia
  • Book: American Literature in Transition, 1851–1877
  • Online publication: 15 June 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108565615.007
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  • Herman Melville
  • Edited by Cody Marrs, University of Georgia
  • Book: American Literature in Transition, 1851–1877
  • Online publication: 15 June 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108565615.007
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Herman Melville
  • Edited by Cody Marrs, University of Georgia
  • Book: American Literature in Transition, 1851–1877
  • Online publication: 15 June 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108565615.007
Available formats
×