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Typee (Classics Illustrated #36)

3.51  ·  Rating Details ·  3,103 Ratings  ·  260 Reviews
This is the first edition of Typee to place its most riveting features the highly charged and complicated accounts of sexuality, tattooing, cannibalism, and taboo in a broad historical context. Twelve rich selections from the writings of Melville's predecessors and contemporaries, along with eight illustrations, will help readers develop a fuller sense of where Melville's ...more
Paperback, 399 pages
Published January 6th 2003 by Wadsworth Publishing Company (first published 1846)
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Mar 31, 2016 Darwin8u rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
“Yet, after all, insensible as he is to a thousand wants, and removed from harassing cares, my not the savage be the happier man..?”
― Herman Melville, Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life


Herman Melville's first book Typee is a blend of creative memoir, cultural commentary, and good story telling. Melville recounts and elaborates on his experiences among the Typee cannibals on the French Polynesian island of Nuku Hiva (Marquesas Islands) in 1842. Typee ended up being Meville's best-selling book duri
This is the story Herman Melville was meant to tell. I hated Billy Budd; I liked Moby Dick a lot; I loved Typee.

Not coincidentally, Melville wrote this before he had met Nathaniel Hawthorne; and everything else he ever wrote after. I think Hawthorne ruined Melville as a writer.

This book feels real. Melville writes what he knows - there's no stilted 'humorous' overwrought dialogue. There's no pedagogic symbolism. There's no melodrama. There's just the story of a guy running away from a nasty sea
A terrific adventure story (based on a real-life experience) interspersed with commentary about the daily life and habits of the people of the Typee Valley in the Marquesas Islands. There are lengthy descriptions of food and cooking methods, housing, clothing, personal hygiene and grooming, rituals, sleeping habits, language, relationships. It might be considered a bit pedantic at times, but I listened in small daily doses for several weeks and found it exciting, educational, and amusing. Libriv ...more
Ian Laird
Feb 15, 2016 Ian Laird rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: c19-classics, fiction
Revision 16/2/16: I found a subversive quote and made stylistic edits.

Typee is a fascinating and surprising account of South Sea islander life in the mid-nineteenth century.

The story starts as an adventure tale with young sailors Tommo and Toby jumping ship as the whaler Dolly replenishes her supplies in the Marquesas Islands. The runaways flee through the jungle, into the hands of the Typee, the most dreaded of the warring cannibal tribes whose enemies the Happars live in the next valley.

At thi
Jan 18, 2009 Susanna rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who like to read about cannibals and first contact
Don't read this book if you want to lie around and dream of coconuts and natives and bare-breasted maidens. Unlike those after him (like London, Twain, and Stevenson), Melville plays with the instability of western illusions about foreign places and people. You'll have to read this between the lines, of course. This edition is awesome; the editor Sanborn is a bad-ass Melville scholar who wrote THE best book on cannibalism in the South Pacific (trust me, I've done my research!). The supplementary ...more

أستهل مراجعتي باعتراف مضحك ... لقد قررت يوما ما ألا أقرأ رواية موبي ديك أبدا أبدا بسبب عقدة نفسية تكونت لدي من حلقة كارتون
Tom & Jerry
Dicky Moe
وهذا هو الرابط للحلقة

وعلمت من خلال كتاب ثلاثة قرون من الأدب أن هيرمان ملفيل هو كاتبها ولحسن الحظ أن النص الذي جاء في الكتاب المذكور كان قصة بارتلبي نساخ العقود أو بارتلبي النساخ بترجمة ممتازة وعلمت من خلال الكتاب أيضا عن هذه الرواية - محل المراجعة - التي هي عبارة عن أحداث حقيقية كان المؤلف هو البطل فيه
Eddie Watkins
I liked this book. I didn't love it, I just kind of liked it. Not to say that it is not a good book because it is, it's just that I only kind of liked it. I mean, Mr. Herman's a great writer and all, and so this book has great writing in it, but it's just that maybe there just wasn't enough of a story in it to make it a book that I would love, however great the writing. Great writing is no doubt great, but a novel's a novel and not just great writing. A great novel, a novel that I would love, is ...more
J.M. Hushour
It ain't no Moby Dick but it does feature cannibalism and polyandry, two of the greatest things ever conceived of by mankind.
Melville's first novel is his barely fictionalized account of his escape from a shitty employer on a whaling ship and how he ended up living amongst the Typee in the Marquesas Islands around the time the French took control. Like Dick, Typee has a lot of sections of fact which round out the narrative part of the story and which feed off of the narrator's desires and fears.
César Lasso
I wasted my time hundreds of years ago reading this one. The idea was - Melville enjoys his time hanging around on a canoe on an idyllic island... Very cosy, very pretty.
Living Among Cannibals

Melville was surely able to count on abhorrence-fuelled fascination with the topic of cannibalism when he published his first work Typee in 1846, all the more so as he cleverly created the impression of its being based on the experiences he had when he lived among the natives of the South Pacific island of Nuku Hiva in 1842. This may partly be true, but there hardly remains any doubt that Melville also used his own imagination as well as other people’s travel reports when w
Jun 27, 2008 Jared rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listened to this recently in audio version from LibriVox ( A vividly told and well-observed first-person account of Melville's time among a preindustrial South Sea islander society that had minimal contact with the West. Part polemic, part adventure story, part amateur ethnography. The book that made Melville famous, before he blew his reputation on "Moby Dick." I was disappointed to learn later that much of it was made up.
Sep 26, 2015 Lydia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book quite a few years ago, after reading another book that was a fictionalised story of Herman Melville's life. (I should find that book and review it!)

This book is a fictionalised account of what happened to the author himself when he was stranded on a Polynesian island. I found the book interesting, but I think it's a certain type of book for a certain kind of person. Melville can be quite dry, and he goes into great detail about the lives of the people he ends up living with.

Ryan Lawson
Two weeks on this book! Aye, reader, as I breathe, two weeks with no other manuscript in sight; chasing after its ending under the hefty pressure of its lines, and thrown on the swells of the author’s long-winded thoughts—the pages within, the chapters all around, and not one other thing!

Of course, it wasn’t all that bad; but my botched attempt at mimicking the Melvillian voice is an adverse effect that lingers after reading his first novel, Typee. And, what a first novel it is. After having spe
If hoping for swash and rollick - look elsewhere. Vitriol for missionaries and the Hawaiian Islands? Aplenty. Coming from the Jack London/Joseph Conrad/R.L.Stevenson fan club this seemed lacklustre - and what's with this partly-true, partly made-up business?? If he was marooned on a cannibal island, why not just tell that as it happened? Not exciting enough, fine, but make the *fiction* story exciting then, for Pete's sake!! (I've always avoided "Moby Dick", and feel quite justified after this.) ...more
Nov 06, 2008 Marcus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went into this not really knowing much about Melville (other than having read Moby Dick a few years ago) and really enjoyed it. Melville obviously spent quite a bit of time on the ocean and with the Typee's and his descriptions of them are fascinating. My favorite parts though were his descriptions of simple things where he plays with language - you can really tell he just loves words, for example this passage describing the flies he encountered:

"He will perch upon one of your eye-lashes, and
Brian Bess
Sep 17, 2012 Brian Bess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is little evidence while reading Typee that its author would in only five years produce a major work of world literature such as Moby-Dick. There is the common fact that both of them are seagoing narratives that present much factual information delivered primarily to assure the reader of their authenticity as well as the proof that their author really does know something of the subject matter of which he is writing. Beyond that, however, they bear completely different intentions.

Accepted l
Markus Molina
Moby Dick is my favorite book of all time, and it's not even close. I figured if Typee was half as good, I'd have another book to love. It isn't half as good. It contains a lot of the dryness and descriptions of Moby Dick with none of the passion and deeper meaning. My rating is probably too low for what it is, which is a semi-autobiographical journey log, but for what I wanted, it did not deliver. Many of the chapters, Melville just breaks down the culture of the Typee people, and while I assum ...more
Jan 04, 2010 Randy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My interest, in going chronologically through Melville's early works, is in watching the growth of the craftsman. The first two, Typee and Omoo, are both semi-biographical travelogues and adventure chronicles that detail the exotic locales of the South Pacific islands. Even at the time of publication, their content would have been sensational, but hardly groundbreaking.

In Typee, the narrator jumps ship and finds himself living as a captive among a native island tribe (the Typee), who may or may
Feb 11, 2009 Jesse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This was a pretty good many ways it was better than Moby Dick; but really it was just different...sorta...

In the same style as Moby Dick, this story was told in almost an anthropological point of view. What made it even more interesting for me is that I knew the author had actually spent 2 years on a polonesian island.

So, there is little plot, but tons of descriptions of culture and environment; you really feel like you are getting to understand the tribes of this island. The bit of
Ashley Spradlin
Aug 14, 2016 Ashley Spradlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Melville jumps ship and lives among the noble savages for a while. He wants to leave and avoid being eaten, but is trapped and doesn't want to upset them. He tends to go on and on (and on) about certain things, such as the cannibals' processes for making food and textiles, but redeems himself otherwise. Suspenseful and interesting. I used this as a warm-up exercise for Moby Dick.
Natalie Tyler
Aug 03, 2016 Natalie Tyler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
“Typee”, based on Melville’s real 1843 adventures in Fiji (then known as the Cannibal Isles) and other South Pacific islands is actually an easy and rather quick read. It’s about the religion, cannabilism, and customs of the native peoples of “Fee-Jee” or “Viti” as it was sometimes called. Melville set out to explore the area with its reputation for ferocious cannabilism. In his debut novel, he created a sensation in large part because of his excellent writing but also his criticisms of missiona ...more
Apr 16, 2016 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Μια πολύ ωραία και ενδιαφέρουσα ιστορία, με την υπέροχη γραφή του Herman Melville, που εν μέρη επιτίθεται στον καπιταλισμό.
Πόλυ όμορφες περιγραφές τοπίων αλλά και της ζωής των ιθαγενών της πολυνησίας, αν και ο συγγραφέας δεν αφήνει τίποτα που να μην το αναλύσει στο έπακρο. Κάτι σε στυλ ντοκιμαντέρ δηλαδη.
Oct 22, 2015 Nathan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horny-white-men
I'm going to give this 4 stars, but I can't justify doing so without pointing out how conflicted I am. The side of me that thinks of literature as art absolutely loved Typee. Melville has some excellent prose, filled with long sentences and introspection. Tommo was the prototype for the unreliable narrators that would characterize Melville's later work. And his world-building is excellent, by employing elements of fantasy like culture structuring, this seems to gain validity in its form shifting ...more
Greg Brozeit
Melvilles’s first, somewhat autobiographical, novel is part adventure story, part ethnography and mostly meandering. The adventure begins when the first-person narrator, Tom (or Tommo as he is known by his later captors) and his crewmate Toby decide to run away from a ship they have been on from the dock at the French Polynesian island of Nukuheva (Nuku Hiva). The island, dominated by a large mountain which divide into relatively inaccessible valleys, is home to three tribes, one of which, the T ...more
Oct 03, 2016 Jay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Melville book I have read. I’ve seen plenty of reviews of “Moby Dick” and they tended to scare me off of Melville – most of the whaler reviews implied reading the book was a lot of work, and I was looking for something enjoyable. I’m glad I took a flyer on “Typee”. This was a pleasant book, very much of the period, relatively short and fast-paced. It seems to be a story based on fact, maybe loosely based on fact. One of the hardest things for me to believe is that within a few ...more
Jul 11, 2014 Sandi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read Typee to get a sense of Melville, as the pre-Moby-Dick popular author. From all of the reviews that made it out to be an immature, facile romp in the South Seas, nothing like the grand epic-about-everything that Moby-Dick is, I was surprised to find that Typee had quite a bit in common with Melville's later work.

Like Ishmael, the narrator Tommo is primarily a somewhat-innocent watcher, reflecting upon his surroundings and touching, in a detached way, on his own forming relationships.

Feb 27, 2014 Mitchell rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The first novel by the famed author of Moby-Dick, Typee walks a fine line between fact and fiction. The author relates it as a true account of the several months he spent living amongst natives of the South Pacific; whether this is true or not is a matter of contention, and something that lingered in my mind throughout the book.

After six months at sea, the horrors of which are described in a very strong opening chapter, Melville's whaling vessel puts into the Marquesas Islands in Polynesia to re
Dec 16, 2012 Mark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Melville's first book is a curious, unsatisfying, unlikely affair, which does show off Melville’s incipient facility with language and jokes and also his ability to build and maintain narrative tension; but the writing is irritatingly verbose and the whole book could be cut by a third without losing anything. Beyond that, this supposedly true narrative has been contradicted with facts that scholars have presented in the time since the book came out (facts that weren’t available to the readers in ...more
Jul 20, 2012 Manny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If the thought of reading Hermann Melville makes you sweat, especially that dictionary-sized novel of his, "Moby Dick", give "Typee", his first novel a try. If there is only one novel you want to read by Melville, this is a good bet. This is a very exciting and charming account of the time he jumped ship in the Marquesas and spent quality time with the Polynesians there.Having been to Tahiti and other islands of French Polynesia, I found this novel captivating for capturing the feel of the volca ...more
Dec 18, 2007 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A man flees the confines his shipbound life as a sailor and ends up living with cannibals. Mostly alone with the savages—who turn out to be more mysterious than savage, and sometimes beautiful—he observes first-hand how society looks when freed from the onus of labor-intensive survival. Written at a time when primitives were still being actively civilized, the narrator questions the benefit of what christians and traders, often by force, had brought.

Right at the beginning of the book is a beauti
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What happened to all the women? 3 8 May 12, 2015 09:28PM  
Huntsville-Madiso...: Staff Pick--Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life 1 7 Sep 18, 2012 05:37AM  
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Herman Melville was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. His first two books gained much attention, though they were not bestsellers, and his popularity declined precipitously only a few years later. By the time of his death he had been almost completely forgotten, but his longest novel, Moby-Dick — largely considered a failure during his lifetime, and most responsible for ...more
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“Strange as it may seem, there is nothing in which a young and beautiful female appears to more advantage than in the art of smoking.” 5 likes
“Yet, after all, insensible as he is to a thousand wants, and removed from harassing cares, my not the savage be the happier man..?” 3 likes
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