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Typee. Omoo. Mardi

  • ISBN: 9780940450004
  • Editorial: Library of America
  • Lugar de la edición: New York. Estados Unidos de Norteamérica
  • Colección: Library of America Series
  • Encuadernación: Cartoné
  • Medidas: 22 cm
  • Nº Pág.: 1333
  • Idiomas: Inglés

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The inaugural volume of The Library of America presents one of America’s greatest writers, Herman Melville (1819–1891). These three early novels are stirring romances of the South Seas; many of their fictional details resemble some of the events in Melville’s own life in the early 1840s. Like the hero-narrator of Typee and Omoo, Melville shipped out on a whaler, jumped ship in exotic ports, was held captive by native tribes—though here he might have exaggerated his own exploits a bit—and escaped to find passage home in the service of the United States Navy.

Exuberant, highly pictorial, with a clear, swift narrative, Typee (1846) was his most popular work well into the 20th century, outselling all his others, including Moby-Dick. It offers a mostly idyllic account of life among the “cannibals” in which civilized innocence is contrasted with the corrosive effects of 19th-century industrial society.

A sequel to Typee, Omoo (1847) continues this inquiry into Pacific culture and those who intruded upon it, specifically in Tahiti. Melville details the misadventures of the unruly and overworked crew of the Australian trader Julia after they are imprisoned for insubordination; the story will perhaps surprise today’s readers with its humor.

With Mardi (1849), Melville abandons a literary Polynesia for a mythical one. “Mardi” is the Polynesian word for “the world,” and the voyage through imaginary South Sea archipelagoes stops off at Dominora (Britain), Porpheero (Europe), and Vivenza (the United States). Tracing the quest for the elusive and beautiful Yillah, it remains a timely political allegory and a thrilling adventure.

Together, these three romances give early evidence of the genius and daring that make Melville the master novelist of the sea and a precursor of modernist literature.

Edited by G. Thomas Tanselle.


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