By the time he wrote Redburn, his fourth novel, Herman Melville had accrued considerable fame as the author of Typee and Omoo—two largely autobiographical narratives based on his three years’ sojourn as a sailor and vagabond among Polynesian islanders—and incurred critics’ scorn with his third novel, the long, satiric allegory called Mardi. Melville’s early success had encouraged him to make a profession of writing, and the commercial failure of Mardi came at an especially bad time; he had married Elizabeth Shaw in 1847, and their first child was born the month before Mardi’s publication. Financially strained, Melville hastily undertook during the …
Hager, Christopher. "Redburn". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 July 2008; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=2440, accessed 27 April 2015.]