Study Guide

Typee by Herman Melville in Textual Criticism

Typee by Herman Melville

Melville's Typee, tells the story of a sailor's time among the natives of an island in the Marquesas. It was based on Melville's own experience in the Marquesas in 1842, where he was stranded for four weeks.

Typee has a complicated publishing history. For one thing, it was issued in two editions: a British edition and an American edition. These editions existed side by side but were not identical. The critic John Bryant, in his book The Fluid Text, says that Typee is the perfect example of a fluid text because we can't give one version of the work more authority than the other—both editions of the novel are authoritative.

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