Herman Melville was an American short story writer, novelist, and poet from the 1800s. He is best known for his Moby-Dick (1851), considered a classic of American literature. Melville is also known for his other works, including Typee, Omoo, and Billy Budd.
During his lifetime Herman Melville did not win any literary awards, and his works were not widely popular or critically acclaimed when they were first published. Only after his death his importance as a writer was recognized.
Herman Melville was born in New York City in 1819 and lived there for most of his life. He spent some time living in other places, including Massachusetts and France.
After leaving school at 18, Melville worked several odd jobs, including as a teacher in school, a bank clerk, and a laborer. He also spent several years working as a sailor and visited various places worldwide, including the Marquesas Islands, Tahiti, and Hawaii.
Melville returned to New York City in 1844 and began writing and publishing short stories and poems. His first novel, Typee, was published in 1846 and was followed by Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas (1847), Mardi: and a Voyage Thither (1849), and Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (1851).
Moby-Dick is a classic of American literature and is widely considered one of the greatest novels in the English language. It tells the story of Captain Ahab's quest to hunt down and kill the white whale Moby-Dick, who had previously destroyed Ahab's ship and leg. Moby-Dick is notable for its complex and dense prose, as well as its themes of obsession, individualism, and the nature of evil.
The novel, in particular, did not receive much attention when it was first published, and it was not until the 20th century that it gained its reputation as a classic.
Despite some initial success, the novelist struggled financially for much of his life.
Herman Melville died in New York City in 1891 at the age of 72.