Study Guide

Herman Melville Sailor & Writer

Sailor & Writer

Upon returning to New York, the 25-year-old realized that people were very interested in his stories about life at sea. He decided to write them down, and the result was his first novel, Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life. The autobiographical novel appeared in 1846, after Melville had been rejected by one publisher. This publisher thought that the stories he described in the book (most of which were based on his own life) were too exciting to have actually happened. The book was a big success. In 1847, Melville followed it with Omoo, which was also a novel about life at sea and among the Polynesians.

"We therefore recommend this 'narrative of adventures in the south seas,' as thorough entertainment—not so light as to be tossed aside for its flippancy, nor so profound as to be tiresome,"

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