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Library of America Herman Melville Edition

Herman Melville
Herman Melville: Complete Poems (LOA #320) by Herman Melville
Coming soon ON 08-27-19

Herman Melville: Complete Poems (LOA #320)

Book 4
Ebook $21.99

Library of America Herman Melville Edition : Titles in Order

Book 4
An unprecedented single-volume edition of one of America’s greatest poets, released to celebrate his bicentennial

Herman Melville ranks with Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson as one of the three great American poets of the nineteenth century. Whether meditating on the bloody battlefields of the Civil War, the mysteries of faith and doubt in the Holy Land, or the strange relationship between the Maldive Shark and the pilot fish that glide before “his Gorgonian head,” Melville’s verse combines precise physical detail and rich metaphysical speculation in an unorthodox style and with a compressed power uniquely his own. The fruit of decades of textual scholarship, this fourth and final volume of the Library of America Melville edition gathers for the first time in one volume all of Melville’s poems: the four books of poetry published in his lifetime, his uncollected poems, and the poems from two projected volumes of poetry and prose left unfinished at his death. 

Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War is both a deeply philosophical work of mourning for the Civil War dead and a fascinating record of campaigns and battles and the war’s immediate aftermath. With a cast of characters to rival Moby-Dick, the epic poem Clarel, about a young American divinity student’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land, plumbs the profound existential and religious questions that haunted Melville throughout his life. In two late privately issued books, the retrospective John Marr and Other Sailors and Timoleon Etc., the aging poet returns to the nautical scenes and reading of his youth. Many of the poems in the two manuscripts left unfinished at Melville’s death, Weeds and Wildings and Parthenope, have not been previously available in a reliable trade edition.
Book 4
An unprecedented single-volume edition of one of America’s greatest poets, released to celebrate his bicentennial

Best known today for his novels and stories, the author of Moby-Dick was a devoted and accomplished poet. Ranging from Civil War battlefields to the haunted byways of the Holy Land, from close observation of nature to deep philosophical mediation, Melville’s poetry was central to his life and art and he justly ranks with Whitman and Dickinson as one of America’s three greatest 19th-century poets. Complete here for the first time in the fourth and final installment in the Library of America’s Herman Melville edition, are all four books of poetry he published in his lifetime plus uncollected poems and the poems from two projected volumes left unfinished at the time of his death, allowing readers to appreciate for themselves the extraordinary range of his poetic achievement.  

Melville’s first book of poetry, Battle-Pieces (1866), remains one of the very few great American books to have emerged from the Civil War. Dedicated to the Union dead, it is both a deeply philosophical work of mourning and a fascinating record of events, tracking campaigns and battles and the war’s immediate aftermath. With a cast of characters surpassing that of Moby-Dick, the epic poem Clarel (1876), about an American divinity student’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land, has been likened to Paradise Lost and The Waste Land as a profound exploration of the problem of belief. Also included in Complete Poems are the two privately issued books John Marr (1888) and Timoleon (1891), which contain some of Melville’s finest lyric verse. Rounding out the volume are the extraordinary poems from his two unfinished manuscripts, Weeds and Wildings and Parthenope, along with miscellaneous uncollected poems. All of the poems are presented in the authoritative Northwestern-Newberry texts.
Book 3
Forgoing the narratives of the sea that prevailed in his earlier works, Melville’s later fiction contains some of the finest and many of his keenest and bleakest observations of life, not on the high seas, but at home in America. With the publication of this Library of America volume, the third of three volumes, all Melville’s fiction has now been restored to print for the first time.

Pierre; or, The Ambiguities, published in 1852 (the year after Moby-Dick), moves between the idyllic Berkshire countryside and the nightmare landscape of early New York City. Its hero, a young American patrician trying to redeem the secret sins of his father, elopes to the city, discovers Bohemian life, attempts a literary epic, and struggles his way through incest, murder, and madness. Long a controversial work, it is Melville’s darkest satire of American life and letters and one of his most powerful books.

A pivotal work, both for Melville’s career and for American literature, Pierre was followed by Israel Potter, the story of a veteran of the Revolution, victim of a thousand mischances, and a long-suffering exile in England. Along the way are memorable episodes of war and intrigue, with personal portraits of Benjamin Franklin, John Paul Jones, and George III. In the exploits of this touchingly optimistic soldier, Melville offers a scathing image of the collapse of revolutionary hopes.

The Piazza Tales demonstrates Melville’s dazzling mastery of many styles, including “The Encantadas,” about nature’s two faces—enchanting and horrific; the famous “Bartleby the Scrivener,” about a Wall Street copyist who “would prefer not to”; and the enigmatic “Benito Cereno,” about a credulous Yankee sea captain who stumbles into an intricately plotted mutiny aboard a disabled slave ship.

The Confidence-Man, Melville’s last published novel, is in many ways a forerunner of modernist American fiction. An extended meditation on faith, hope, and charity as these are manifested on board a Mississippi riverboat one April Fools’ Day, it presents a menagerie of Americans buying and selling, borrowing and lending, believing and mistrusting, as they are carried toward the auction blocks of New Orleans.

Many pieces never before collected are also included: the “Authentic Anecdotes of Old Zack” (burlesque sketches of Zachary Taylor’s Mexican campaign), “Fragments from a Writing-Desk” (Melville’s earliest surviving prose), reviews of Hawthorne, Parkman, and Cooper, and all the tales Melville published in magazines during the 1850s.

Finally, there is the posthumously published masterpiece Billy Budd, Sailor, the haunting story of a beautiful, innocent sailor who is pressed into naval service, slandered, provoked to murder, and sacrificed to military justice. While encouraging questions for which there are no answers, it invites us to meditate on the conflicts central to all Melville’s work: between freedom and fate, innocence and civilized corruption.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
Book 2
Well over a century after its publication, Moby-Dick still stands as an indisputable literary classic. It is the story of an eerily compelling madman pursuing an unholy war against a creature as vast and dangerous and unknowable as the sea itself. But more than just a novel of adventure, more than an encyclopedia of whaling lore and legend, Moby-Dick is a haunting, mesmerizing, and important social commentary populated with several of the most unforgettable and enduring characters in literature. Written with wonderfully redemptive humor, Moby-Dick is a profound and timeless inquiry into character, faith, and the nature of perception.LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.
 
Book 1
This first volume of The Library of America’s three-volume edition of the complete prose works of Herman Melville includes three romances of the South Seas. Typee and Omoo, based on the young Melville’s experiences on a whaling ship, are exuberant accounts of the idyllic life among the “cannibals” in Polynesia. They remained his most popular works well into the 20th century. Mardi (“the world” in Polynesian) is a mixture of love story, adventure, and political allegory, set on a mythical Pacific island, that looks forward to the complexities of Moby-Dick. Together, these three romances give early evidence of the genius and daring that make Melville the master novelist of the sea and a precursor of modernist literature. Two companion volumes–Herman Melville: Redburn, White-Jacket, Moby-Dick and Herman Melville: Pierre, Israel Potter, The Piazza Tales, The Confidence Man, Uncollected Prose, and Billy Budd complete this edition of Melville’s prose.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation’s literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America’s best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.

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