"As a revelation of human destiny it is too deep even for sorrow," was how D.H. Lawrence characterized MOBY-DICK. Published in the same five-year span as "The Scarlet Letter," "Walden," and "Leaves of Grass," this great adventure of the sea and the life of the soul is the ultimate achievement of that stunning period in American letters.
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
About the Author
Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 - September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, writer of short stories, and poet from the American Renaissance period. The bulk of his writings was published between 1846 and 1857. Best known for his whaling novel Moby-Dick (1851), he is also legendary for having been forgotten during the last thirty years of his life. Melville's writing is characteristic for its allusivity. "In Melville's manipulation of his reading," scholar Stanley T. Williams wrote, "was a transforming power comparable to Shakespeare's." Born in New York City, he was the third child of a merchant in French dry-goods, with Revolutionary War heroes for grandfathers. Not long after the death of his father in 1832, his schooling stopped abruptly. After having been a schoolteacher for a short time, he signed up for a merchant voyage to Liverpool in 1839. A year and a half into his first whaling voyage, in 1842 he jumped ship in the Marquesas Islands, where he lived among the natives for a month. His first book, Typee (1846) became a huge bestseller which called for a sequel, Omoo (1847). The same year Melville married Elizabeth Knapp Shaw; their four children were all born between 1849 and 1855.
ROCKWELL KENT (1872 - 1971) is perhaps best known for his illustrations for The Complete Works of William Shakespeare and Moby Dick. Kent also created the "random house" that, despite revision throughout the years, has been the colophon of that company since its inception in 1928. Kent's other travel books include N by E, Wilderness, and Voyaging, all reissued by Wesleyan/UPNE.
DOUG CAPRA teaches English in Seward, Alaska, where he has lived since 1971. He has written two books on Seward history and spent many years researching and writing about Kent in Alaska. His articles on Kent have appeared in such publications as Alaska Magazine and The Kent Collector.