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HERMAN MELVILLE by Rebecca Stefoff



Pub Date: April 15th, 1994
Publisher: Messner

In a lucid account of Melville's ""sad, although not quite tragic"" life, the author of many fine biographies explores his sources of inspiration and analyzes his major themes, his sophisticated use of symbolism and other literary devices, and why his books eluded wide readership until the 20th century. Though Stefoff never loses sight of him as a person (""Melville was tormented at times by spiritual and intellectual questions, but the only thing that haunted him for most of his life was the need to earn money, and he welcomed respectability""), her focus on his work makes this most valuable as a brief critical appraisal for his many confused or intimidated readers and a bonanza for term-paper writers. A sturdy companion or replacement for Hillway's Herman Melville (1979). Illustrated with period reproductions; bibliography; index.