A critical scholarly study of Melville's works rather than Melville, the man -- the ideas and symbolism embodied therein -- the chronological development of the philosophy. He discusses the Ishmael central character of his first five books, the theme of the outcast seeking his birthright. Then comes Moby Dick, with Ahab as Prometheus, a false Prometheus; Pierre with its Christ-like central character; the short stories indicating Melville's withdrawal and return to society; Civil War poems; Billy Budd returning to the Pierre theme. The Fall and the Search threaded through his work; the significance of his symbolism; his desire for and fear of solitude. Competent dissection. Student market.