Melville, Herman

Melville, Herman (1819 - 1891)


Herman Melville, born August 1, 1819, in New York City, was educated at the New York Male High School (1825-29), Grammar School of Columbia College (1829-30), and Albany Academy (1830-31). He entered service in merchant shipping in 1839 and travelled the seas until 1844. This life led him to pen novels of the sea, notably Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life (1846), Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas (1847), Mardi: And a Voyage Thither (1849), Redburn: His Voyage (1849), White-Jacket; Or, The World in a Man-of-War (1850), and Moby-Dick: or, The Whale (1851). The public lost interest in his later fiction, although his short-fiction collection The Piazza Tales (1856) held masterpieces like Bartleby the Scrivener. Melville then turned to poetry, his Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War, some of the greatest poems about the Civil War, appearing in 1866. During his life as a customs inspector, and up to his death on September 28, 1891, he produced three more volumes of verse. He was survived by Elizabeth née Shaw, his spouse from 1847, two sons and two daughters.

  • Collected Poems of Herman Melville. Ed. Howard P. Vincent. Chicago: Packard, 1947. PS 2382 V5 Robarts Library
  • The Melville Log: A Documentary Life of Herman Melville, 1819-1891. Ed. Jay Leyda. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1951. Supplement, New York: Gordian Press, 1969. PS 2386 .L4 Robarts Library
  • Melville, Herman. Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War. New York: Harper, 1866. B-12/0855 Fisher
  • --. Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land. 2 vols. New York: Putnam's, 1876.
  • --. John Marr and Other Sailors, With Some Sea-Pieces New York: De Vinne, 1888.
  • --. Timoleon Etc. New York: Caxton, 1891. PS 2384 .T5 1891A Robarts Library
Given Name
Family Name
Birth Date
August 1, 1819
Death Date
September 28, 1891
  • Mariner

  • Novelist

  • Customs officer

Literary Period
Literary Movement
First RPO Edition