Chapter

Introduction

Giles Gunn

in A Historical Guide to Herman Melville

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780195142822
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850297 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195142822.003.0001

Series: Historical Guides to American Authors

Introduction

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One of the best words to describe Herman Melville's reputation, especially among other American writers, is colossus for he has been able to contribute in no small part to the classic literature of the nineteenth century. Although he might have been outwritten by other prominent authors such as Mark Twain and Henry James, among others, Herman Melville managed to write some of the most significant and more ambitious stories in both prose and poetry, such as Mardi: And a Voyage Thither, Moby Dick, and Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land to name a few. Aside from taking on a multitude of various themes and issues, Melville's works complied with a common theme that involves consuming and creating, brought about by Melville's belief that art was meant to be perceived as a semireligious assertion that art reflects the most important aspects of life and experience.

Keywords: Herman Melville; classic literature; nineteenth century; Mark Twain; Henry James; Mardi: And a Voyage Thither; Clarel; Moby Dick

Chapter.  4687 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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