Herman Melville

A. Robert Lee (Nihon University)
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“Until I was twenty-five, I had no development at all. From my twenty-fifth year I date my life…”. So runs Melville's celebrated letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne for June 1st 1851. Writing from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and not a little heady at the discovery of the author of

The Scarlet Letter

(1850) for his Berkshire Hills neighbour in nearby Lenox, he was mid-way into composing the South Seas whale-epic in due course to be dedicated to Hawthorne and titled


(1851), and which would be the source of his own enduring literary fame. Melville's declaration carries all his typical infectious vitality of sound and sense. Few writers, American or otherwise, and of his own time or not, bring to the literary page a body of experience more lived first-hand and yet cannier in hidden…

2226 words

Citation: Lee, A. Robert. "Herman Melville". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 July 2003 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=3076, accessed 12 June 2024.]

3076 Herman Melville 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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