Melville: His World and Work
- the sort o...more
Melville suffered from bi-polar disorder. Financial difficulties exasperated by the uncertainty of income from new writings added to his anxieties. His wife Lizzie and close family memb...more
THIS is how you do a literary biography. A pleasure to read, erudite, comprehensive though easily digestible, engaged and engaging, well-drawn and sympathetically felt. You get plenty on the good stuff and an excellent investigation of the lesser-known efforts. There isn't very much of Melville that survives, in terms of letters or diaries and so forth, and so Delbanco does a beautiful job of bringing out what he can of a rather insular and extremely complex man.
Great social panorama, too, of t...more
The sections of this books center around Melville's major works, Moby-Dick, "Bartelby: The Scrivner," and Billy Budd. Delbanco shows with exacting detai...more
There's little new to say about an author as studied and lionized as Herman Melville. What notes he left have been scoured clean for insight into his thoughts on subjects from sexuality to slavery. Delbanco, Levi Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University and author of The Death of Satan, takes on the role of the great collator. With an eye toward creating a biography for the general reader, he borrows liberally from the work of others, tying the whole together with his own readings and...more