University of Virginia Library University of Virginia
Early American Fiction Collection

EAF Author: Herman Melville (1819-1891)

Works in the Collection      Manuscript Materials      Biographies     

Herman Melville was born August 1, 1819, in New York. Starting at age 18, Melville went to sea, first on a voyage to England, and then on a whaling voyage. In 1842, tired of the unpleasant conditions of whaling, Melville and another sailor deserted the ship in the Marquesas Islands. Melville ended up as a captive of the violent tribes of the Typee valley, but was rescued and returned to the seafaring life. He spent time in both the merchant and naval service, and returned to Boston in 1844. Melville turned his experiences into two early novels: Typee and Omoo, which were very successful. Though now well-regarded, his later works such as Moby Dick and Pierre: The Ambiguities met with little contemporary success.

Works in the EAF Collection

The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade (1857) (Restricted)

Israel Potter: His Fifty Years of Exile (1855) (Restricted)

Mardi and a Voyage Thither (1849) [Volume 1] [Volume 2] (Restricted)

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (1851)

Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas (1847) (Restricted)

The Piazza Tales (1856)

Pierre; or The Ambiguities (1852) (Restricted)

Redburn: His First Voyage (1849) (Restricted)

Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life (1846) [Volume 1] [Volume 2] (Restricted)

White-Jacket; or, The World in a Man-of-War (1850) (Restricted)

Contemporary Biographies

From Oscar Fay Adams, A Dictionary of American Authors (1901)

From Samuel Austin Allibone, A Critical Dictionary of English Literature (1900)

From Evert A. Duyckinck, Cyclopaedia of American Literature (1856)