Despite the early success of his tales of adventure in the South Seas, Herman Melville (1819–1891) suffered a reversal of fortunes with the 1851 publication of Moby-Dick. The great epic, now recognized as a masterpiece, was scorned by an uncomprehending nineteenth-century audience. Melville's preoccupation with metaphysical and philosophical issues and his use of symbols and archetypes foreshadowed elements of latter-day literature, and modern readers rejoice in his groundbreaking explorations of timeless questions.
Along with excerpts from Moby-Dick, this anthology presents the complete text of Melville's classic of travel and adventure literature, Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life. Additional features include the short stories "Bartleby the Scrivener," "The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids," and "The Encantadas or Enchanted Isles."