Herman Melville


Herman Melville (1819 – 1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. His first two books gained much attention, though they were not bestsellers, and his popularity declined precipitously only a few years later. By the time of his death he had been almost completely forgotten, but his longest novel, Moby-Dick — largely considered a failure during his lifetime, and most responsible for Melville's fall from favor with the reading public — was rediscovered in the 20th century as one of the chief literary masterpieces of both American and world literature.

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From Librivox:

1.  Moby Dick  (Or the Great White Whale)

2.  Typee  (Melville is a captive of a cannibal island tribe)

3.  Omoo   A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas is Herman Melville's sequel to Typee, and, as such, was also autobiographical. After leaving Nuku Hiva, the main character ships aboard a whaling vessel which makes its way to Tahiti, after which there is a mutiny and the majority of the crew are imprisoned on Tahiti. 

4.  Benito Cereno - On an island off the coast of Chile, Captain Amaso Delano, sailing an American sealer, sees the San Dominick, a Spanish slave ship, in obvious distress. Capt. Delano boards the San Dominick, providing needed supplies, and tries to learn from her aloof and disturbed captain, Benito Cereno, the story of how this ship came to be where she is. Dealing with racism, the slave trade, madness, the tension between representation and reality, and featuring at least one unreliable narrator, Melville's novella has both captivated and frustrated critics for decades
    5.  White Jacket or The World in a Man of War - This is a tale based on Melville's experiences aboard the USS United States from 1843 to 1844. It comments on the harsh and brutal realities of service in the US Navy at that time, but beyond this the narrator has created for the reader graphic symbols for class distinction, segregation and slavery aboard this microcosm of the world, the USS Neversink.

    6.  The Confidence Man: His Masquerade  - This was Melville’s Last novel.  Published on April 1, The Confidence-Man was Melville's tenth major work in eleven years. The novel portrays a Canterbury Tales-style group of steamboat passengers whose interlocking stories are told as they travel down the Mississippi River toward New Orleans. The novel is written as cultural satire, allegory, and metaphysical treatise, dealing with themes of sincerity, identity, morality, religiosity, economic materialism, irony, and cynicism.

    7.  The Encantadas or Enchanted Isles - A novella that was first published in Putnam's Magazine in 1854.  It consists of ten philosophical "Sketches" on the Encantadas, or Galápagos Islands. It was collected in The Piazza Tales in 1856. The Encantadas was to become the most critically successful of that collection. All of the stories are replete with symbolism reinforcing the cruelty of life on the Encantadas.

    8.  The Piazza by Herman Melville (1st story in Short Story Collection # 53)

    9.  The Lightning-Rod Man by Herman Melville (2nd story in Short Story Collection # 53)

    10.  The Bell-Tower by Herman Melville (3rd story in Short Story Collection # 53)

    11.  Redburn - His First Voyage - Melville wrote of some of his earliest experiences at sea in the story of Wellingborough Redburn, a wet-behind-the-ears youngster whose head was filled with dreams of foreign travel and adventure. In Redburn, the protagonist enlists for a stint as a seaman aboard Highlander, a merchant ship running between New York and London. As with many of Melville's works, this one is as much about class and race as it is about the sea. 

    12a. The Chase by Herman Melville (21st story from Sea Stories)

    12b. Rounding Cape Horn by Herman Melville (22nd story from Sea Stories)

    13. Selections from Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War - Published in 1866, Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War is a collection of poems about the Civil War by Herman Melville. Many of the poems are inspired by second- and third-hand accounts from print news sources (especially the Rebellion Record) and from family and friends. A handful of trips Melville took before, during, and after the war provide additional angles of vision into the battles, the personalities, and the moods of war. 


    From Archive.Org - Audio:

    1.  Bartleby the Scrivener   The worst employee ever hired.  
    Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street is a novella.   It first appeared anonymously in two parts in the November and December 1853 editions of Putnam's Magazine, and was reprinted with minor textual alterations in his The Piazza Tales in 1856.