Study Guide

Herman Melville Death

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In 1890, a year before Melville's death, a reporter set out to do a quasi-"where-is-he-now?" story about the once-famous writer. "If one choose to walk along East Eighteenth Street, New York City, any morning about 9 o'clock, he would see the famous writer of sea stories—stories which have never been equalled perhaps in their special line," Edward Bok wrote. "Forty-four years ago, when his most famous tale, Typee, appeared, there was not a better known author than he, and he commanded his own prices. Publishers sought him, and editors considered themselves fortunate to secure his name as a literary star. And to-day? Busy New York has no idea he is even alive, and one of the best-informed literary men in this country laughed recently at my statement that Herman Melville was his neighbor by only two city blocks. 'Nonsense,' said he. 'Why, Melville is dead these many years!'"

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