Future Perfect American Science Fiction of the Nineteenth Century - An Anthology

ISBN-10: 0813521521

ISBN-13: 9780813521527

Edition: 1995 (Revised)

Authors: H. Bruce Franklin

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Book details

List price: $30.95
Copyright year: 1995
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication date: 1/1/1995
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 408
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.430
Language: English

Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 - September 28, 1891) 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. 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, became 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. Melville died at his home in New York City early on the morning of September 28, 1891, at age 72. The doctor listed "cardiac dilation" on the death certificate. He was interred in the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York, along with his wife, Elizabeth Shaw Melville.

Introduction
Hawthorne and Poe
Nathaniel Hawthorne and Science Fiction
The Birthmark
The Artist of the Beautiful
Rappaccini's Daughter
Edgar Allan Poe and Science Fiction
A Tale of the Ragged Mountains
The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar
Mellonta Tauta
Explorations
Automata
Herman Melville and Science Fiction
The Bell-Tower
Humans as Machines
Dr. Materialismus
Marvelous Inventions
The Atoms of Chladni
Medicine Men
Jack London and Science Fiction
A Thousand Deaths
Into the Psyche
Thomas Wentworth Higginson and His Dreamer
The Monarch of Dreams
Ambrose Bierce and Science Fiction
A Psychological Shipwreck
Space Travel
Washington Irving and Science Fiction
The Men of the Moon
Edward Bellamy and Science Fiction
The Blindman's World
Fitz-James O'Brien and Science Fiction
The Diamond Lens
Dimensional Speculation as Science Fiction
Four-Dimensional Space
From "Four-Dimensional Space"
Women's Work
From Man's Rights; Or, How Would You Like It?
From Mizora: A Prophecy
Time Travel
Beyond the Past
Christmas 200,000 B.C.
Mark Twain and Science Fiction
From the "London Times" of 1904
The Perfect Future
In the Year Ten Thousand
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