Herman Melville Selected Poems

ISBN-10: 0143039032

ISBN-13: 9780143039037

Edition: 2006

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A comprehensive collection of the poetry of a presiding genius of American literature While best known for such novels as his monumental Moby-Dick, Herman Melville was also an extraordinarily gifted poet. This is the most complete anthology of Melvilles poetry ever published in a single volume. It features a large selection from Battle-Piecesand Aspects of the War, along with Melvilles own notes and prose supplement; cantos from all four books of Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land; selections from Melvilles later books, Timoleon, John Marr and Other Sailors, and Weeds and Wildings, Chiefly, with a Rose or Two; as well as a number of his powerful and lesserknown uncollected poems. This volume will usher in a new appreciation for Melvilles poetic gifts.
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Book details

List price: $14.00
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date: 6/27/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 384
Size: 5.00" wide x 7.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.594
Language: English

Melville was born into a seemingly secure, prosperous world, a descendant of prominent Dutch and English families long established in New York State. That security vanished when first, the family business failed, and then, two years later, in young Melville's thirteenth year, his father died. Without enough money to gain the formal education that professions required, Melville was thrown on his own resources and in 1841 sailed off on a whaling ship bound for the South Seas. His experiences at sea during the next four years were to form in part the basis of his best fiction. Melville's first two books, Typee (1846) and Omoo (1847), were partly romance and partly autobiographical travel books set in the South Seas. Both were popular successes, particularly Typee, which included a stay among cannibals and a romance with a South Sea maiden. During the next several years, Melville published three more romances that drew upon his experiences at sea: Redburn (1849) and White-Jacket (1850), both fairly realistic accounts of the sailor's life and depicting the loss of innocence of central characters; and Mardi (1849), which, like the other two books, began as a romance of adventure but turned into an allegorical critique of contemporary American civilization. Moby Dick (1851) also began as an adventure story, based on Melville's experiences aboard the whaling ship. However, in the writing of it inspired in part by conversations with his friend and neighbor Hawthorne and partly by his own irrepressible imagination and reading of Shakespeare and other Renaissance dramatists Melville turned the book into something so strange that, when it appeared in print, many of his readers and critics were dumbfounded, even outraged. Their misgivings were in no way resolved by the publication in 1852 of his next novel, Pierre; or, the Ambiguities Pierre; or, the Ambiguities, a deeply personal, desperately pessimistic work that tells of the moral ruination of an innocent young man. By the mid-1850s, Melville's literary reputation was all but destroyed, and he was obliged to live the rest of his life taking whatever jobs he could find and borrowing money from relatives, who fortunately were always in a position to help him. He continued to write, however, and published some marvelous short fiction pieces Benito Cereno" (1855) and "Bartleby, the Scrivener" (1853) are the best. He also published several volumes of poetry, the most important of which was Battle Pieces and Aspects of the War (1866), poems of occasionally great power that were written in response to the moral challenge of the Civil War. His posthumously published work, Billy Budd (1924), on which he worked up until the time of his death, is Melville's last significant literary work, a brilliant short novel that movingly describes a young sailor's imprisonment and death. Melville's reputation, however, rests most solidly on his great epic romance, Moby Dick. It is a difficult as well as a brilliant book, and many critics have offered interpretations of its complicated ambiguous symbolism. Darrel Abel briefly summed up Moby Dick as "the story of an attempt to search the unsearchable ways of God," although the book has historical, political, and moral implications as well.

He is an associate professor of literature at Claremont McKenna College. He is the author of Robert Frost & the Challenge of Darwin.

Suggestions for Further Reading
A Note on the Texts
From Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War (1866)
The Portent
The Conflict of Convictions
Apathy and Enthusiasm
The March into Virginia
Ball's Bluff
DuPont's Round Fight
In the Turret
The Temeraire
A Utilitarian View of the Monitor's Fight
Battle of Stone River, Tennessee
The House-top
The Armies of the Wilderness
On the Photograph of a Corps Commander
The Swamp Angel
Sheridan at Cedar Creek
The College Colonel
A Dirge for McPherson
At the Cannon's Mouth
The March to the Sea
The Frenzy in the Wake
The Surrender at Appomattox
A Canticle
The Martyr
"The Coming Storm"
Rebel Color-bearers at Shiloh
The Muster
"Formerly a Slave."
Magnanimity Baffled
On the Slain Collegians
Verses Inscriptive and Memorial
On the Home Guards
The Fortitude of the North
An Uninscribed Monument
On the Grave
On a Natural Monument
Commemorative of a Naval Victory
The Scout toward Aldie
Lee in the Capitol
A Meditation
From Clarel (1876)
The Hostel
Of the Crusaders
The Arch
The Wilderness
Of Mortmain
Of Deserts
Concerning Hebrews
The Inscription
Mortmain Reappears
Mar Saba
The High Desert
Rolfe and the Palm
Empty Stirrups
Derwent and Ungar
Ungar and Rolfe
The Valley of Decision
Passion Week
Via Crucis
From John Marr and Other Sailors (1888)
John Marr and Other Sailors
John Marr
Tom Deadlight
Jack Roy
The Haglets
Minor Sea-Pieces
The Man-of-War Hawk
The Tuft of Kelp
The Maldive Shark
Crossing the Tropics
The Berg
The Enviable Isles
From Timoleon (1891)
After the Pleasure Party
The Night-march
The Ravaged Villa
The Margrave's Birthnight
Magian Wine
The Garden of Metrodorus
The Weaver
Lamia's Song
In a Garret
Lone Founts
The Bench of Boors
The Enthusiast
C-'s Lament
Shelley's Vision
Fragments of a Lost Gnostic Poem of the Twelfth Century
The Marchioness of Brinvilliers
The Age of the Antonines
Herba Santa
Fruit of Travel Long Ago
In a Bye-Canal
Pisa's Leaning Tower
In a Church of Padua
Milan Cathedral
The Parthenon
Greek Masonry
Greek Architecture
The Apparition
In the Desert
The Great Pyramid
From Weeds and Wildings Chiefly: With a Rose or Two (1924)
The Little Good-Fellows
Trophies of Peace
The American Aloe on Exhibition
The New Rosicrucians
Miscellaneous Poems
The New Ancient of Days
The Rusty Man
Montaigne and His Kitten
Gold in the Mountain
A Spirit Appeared to Me
Billy in the Darbies (from Billy Budd)
Index of First Lines
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