The Portable Melville

Herman Melville is one of the authors I included in my 2012 focus. I’m starting my Melville study with a volume of Melville works and letters edited by Jay Leyda.


This week I read the introduction and the biographical section. I’d like to reiterate some of the main points that Leyda made in his introductory passage about Melville.


First,  Melville uses concrete language. The concrete language he uses is the primary connecting element among his works.


Second, Melville started writing late and continued to evolve. He worked a variety of jobs and gained a lot of life experience that appears in concrete details in his work.


Finally, Melvilles correspondence with Nathaniel Hawthorne is important to understanding him as a writer. Much of that correspondence is included in the portable volume. 


The Portable Melville begins with selection from his novel Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life, which I will be reading in its entirety.



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