White-Jacket Or the World in a Man-of-War

ISBN-10: 0810118289

ISBN-13: 9780810118287

Edition: 2000

Authors: Herman Melville

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Book details

List price: $16.95
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Publication date: 11/22/2000
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 400
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.034
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.

Biographical Note
A Note on the Text
The Jacket
A Glance at the principal Divisions, into which a Man-of-war's Crew is divided
Jack Chase
Jack Chase on a Spanish Quarter-deck
The Quarter-deck Officers, Warrant Officers, and Berth-deck Underlings of a Man-of-war; where they Live in the Ship; how they Live; their Social Standing on Ship-board; and what sort of Gentlemen they are
Breakfast, Dinner, and Supper
Selvagee contrasted with Mad-Jack
Of the Pockets that were in the Jacket
From Pockets to Pickpockets
The Pursuit of Poetry under Difficulties
The Good or Bad Temper of Men-of-war's-men, in a great Degree, attributable to their Particular Stations and Duties aboard Ship
A Man-of-war Hermit in a Mob
A Drought in a Man-of-war
A Salt-Junk Club in a Man-of-war, with a Notice to Quit
General Training in a Man-of-war
Away! Second, Third, and Fourth Cutters, away!
A Man-of-war Full as a Nut
The Jacket aloft
How they Sleep in a Man-of-war
One Reason why Men-of-war's-men are, generally, Short-lived
Wash-day, and House-cleaning in a Man-of-war
Theatricals in a Man-of-war
Introductory to Cape Horn
The Dog-days off Cape Horn
The Pitch of the Cape
Some Thoughts growing out of Mad Jack's Countermanding his Superior's Order
Edging Away
The Night-watches
A Peep through a Port-hole at the Subterranean Parts of a Man-of-war
The Gunner under Hatches
A Dish of Dunderfunk
A Flogging
Some of the Evil Effects of Flogging
Flogging not Lawful
Flogging not Necessary
Some superior old "London Dock" from the Wine-coolers of Neptune
The Chaplain and Chapel in a Man-of-war
The Frigate in Harbor, The Boats, Grand State Reception of the Commodore
Some of the Ceremonies in a Man-of-war unnecessary and injurious
A Man-of-war Library
Killing Time in a Man-of-war in Harbor
Smuggling in a Man-of-war
A Knave in Office in a Man-of-war
Publishing Poetry in a Man-of-war
The Commodore on the Poop, and one of "the People" under the Hands of the Surgeon
An Auction in a Man-of-war
Purser, Purser's Steward, and Postmaster in a Man-of-war
Rumors of a War, and how they were received by the Population of the Neversink
The Bay of all Beauties
One of "the People" has an Audience with the Commodore and the Captain on the Quarter-deck
Something concerning Midshipmen
Sea-faring Persons peculiarly subject to being under the Weather, The Effects of this upon a Man-of-war Captain
"The People" are given "Liberty"
Midshipmen entering the Navy early
A Shore Emperor on board a Man-of-war
The Emperor Reviews the People at Quarters
A quarter-deck Officer before the Mast
A Man-of-war Button divides two Brothers
A Man-of-war's-man Shot at
The Surgeon of the Fleet
A Consultation of Man-of-war Surgeons
The Operation
Man-of-war Trophies
A Man-of-war Race
Fun in a Man-of-war
White-Jacket arraigned at the Mast
A Man-of-war Fountain, and other Things
Prayers at the Guns
Monthly Muster round the Capstan
The Genealogy of the Articles of War
"Herein are the good Ordinances of the Sea, which wise Men, who voyaged round the World, gave to our Ancestors, and which constitute the Books of the Science of good Customs"
Night and Day Gambling in a Man-of-war
The Main-top at Night
"Sink, Burn, and Destroy"
The Chains
The Hospital in a Man-of-war
Dismal Times in the Mess
How Man-of-war's-men Die at Sea
The Last Stitch
How they Bury a Man-of-war's-man at Sea
What remains of a Man-of-war's-man after his Burial at Sea
A Man-of-war College
Man-of-war Barbers
The great Massacre of the Beards
The Rebels brought to the Mast
Old Ushant at the Gangway
Flogging through the Fleet
The Social State in a Man-of-war
The Manning of Navies
Smoking-club in a Man-of-war, with Scenes on the Gun-deck drawing near Home
The last of the Jacket
Cable and Anchor all clear
The End
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