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Pierre : Or the Ambiguities - Herman Melville

Pierre

Or the Ambiguities

By: Herman Melville, William C. Spengemann (Introduction by, NO)

Paperback Published: 30th May 1996
ISBN: 9780140434842
Number Of Pages: 416
For Ages: 18+ years old

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'Ambiguities indeed! One long brain-muddling, soul-bewildering ambiguity (to borrow Mr. Melville's style), like Melchisedeck, without beginning or end-a labyrinth without a clue - an Irish bog without so much as a Jack o'the'lantern to guide the wanderer's footsteps - the dream of a distempered stomach, disordered by a hasty supper on half-cooked pork chops." So judged the New York Herald when Pierre was first published in 1852, with most contemporary reviewers joining in the general condemnation: 'a dead failure,' 'this crazy rigmarole,' and "a literary mare's nest." Latter-day critics have recognized in the story of Melville's idealistic young hero a corrosive satire of the sentimental-Gothic novel, and a revolutionary foray into modernist literary techniques.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

ISBN: 9780140434842
ISBN-10: 0140434844
Series: Penguin Classics
Audience: General
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 416
Published: 30th May 1996
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 20.32 x 13.34  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.32
Edition Number: 1

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Herman Melville

About the Author


(born Aug. 1, 1819, New York, N.Y., U.S.—died Sept. 28, 1891, New York City) U.S. writer. Born to a wealthy New York family that suffered great financial losses, Melville had little formal schooling and began a period of wanderings at sea in 1839. In 1841 he sailed on a whaler bound for the South Seas; the next year he jumped ship in the Marquesas Islands. His adventures in Polynesia were the basis of his successful first novels, Typee (1846) and Omoo (1847).

After his allegorical fantasy Mardi (1849) failed, he quickly wrote Redburn (1849) and White-Jacket (1850), about the rough life of sailors. Moby-Dick (1851), his masterpiece, is both an intense whaling narrative and a symbolic examination of the problems and possibilities of American democracy; it brought him neither acclaim nor reward when published.

Increasingly reclusive and despairing, he wrote Pierre (1852), which, intended as a piece of domestic “ladies” fiction, became a parody of that popular genre, Israel Potter (1855), The Confidence-Man (1857), and magazine stories, including “Bartleby the Scrivener” (1853) and “Benito Cereno” (1855). After 1857 he wrote verse. In 1866 a customs-inspector position finally brought him a secure income. He returned to prose for his last work, the novel Billy Budd, Foretopman, which remained unpublished until 1924. Neglected for much of his career, Melville came to be regarded by modern critics as one of the greatest American writers.

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