Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life   -     Edited By: John Bryant
    By: Herman Melville
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Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life

Edited By: John Bryant
Penguin Classics / 1996 / Paperback

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Product Description

Typee (1846) is the first 'romance' of the semi-autobiographical account of life in the Marquesas Islands in the 1840s. A blend of personal experience and the narratives of explorers and missionaries, it influenced many later writers on the Paciflc, including Robert Louis Stevenson and Jack London. Melville himself deserted from a whaling ship in the islands and lived for four weeks among the inhabitants, observing and recording their way of life. Typee points up the wonders, the dilemmas, the 'fatal impact' of European encounter with the peoples of the Pacific. This edition offers an introduction that considers the book from a post-colonial perspective, and detailed annotation of Melville's allusions.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Vendor: Penguin Classics
Publication Date: 1996
Dimensions: 7.72 X 5.05 X 0.67 (inches)
ISBN: 0140434887
ISBN-13: 9780140434880

Publisher's Description

Typee is a fast-moving adventure tale, an autobiographical account of the author's Polynesian stay, an examination of the nature of good and evil, and a frank exploration of sensuality and exotic ritual.

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.

Author Bio

Herman Melville was born in August 1, 1819, in New York City, the son of a merchant. Only twelve when his father died bankrupt, young Herman tried work as a bank clerk, as a cabin-boy on a trip to Liverpool, and as an elementary schoolteacher, before shipping in January 1841 on the whaler Acushnet, bound for the Pacific. Deserting ship the following year in the Marquesas, he made his way to Tahiti and Honolulu, returning as ordinary seaman on the frigate United States to Boston, where he was discharged in October 1844. Books based on these adventures won him immediate success. By 1850 he was married, had acquired a farm near Pittsfield, Massachussetts (where he was the impetuous friend and neighbor of Nathaniel Hawthorne), and was hard at work on his masterpiece Moby-Dick.

Literary success soon faded; his complexity increasingly alienated readers. After a visit to the Holy Land in January 1857, he turned from writing prose fiction to poetry. In 1863, during the Civil War, he moved back to New York City, where from 1866-1885 he was a deputy inspector in the Custom House, and where, in 1891, he died. A draft of a final prose work, Billy Budd, Sailor, was left unfinished and uncollated, packed tidily away by his widow, where it remained until its rediscovery and publication in 1924.

Editorial Reviews

"A classic of American literature [and] the pioneer in South Sea romance."
- Arthur Stedman

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