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Publisher's Summary

A single novel, an eternal classic, established him as a founding father of American literature. Now, a century after his death, a popular surge of interest in Melville calls for Hardwick's rich analysis of "the whole of Melville's works, uneven as it is, and the challenging shape of his life...a story of the creative history of an extraordinary American genius."

Hardwick's superb interpretation reveals a former whale ship deckhand whose voyages were the stuff of travel romances that seduced the public. Later, a self-described "thought-diver" into "the truth of the human heart", Melville harbored a bitterness that knew no bounds when that same public failed to embrace his masterwork, Moby Dick.

©2000 Elizabeth Hardwick; (P)2000 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A lyrical and engaging portrait of the writer." (Library Journal)
"Hardwick's own talent for metaphor and no-nonsense interpretation makes this an especially engaging critical account....This work is a delight to read." (Publishers Weekly)
"Karen White performs her job impeccably....This audiobook does the masterful job of informing and entertaining at the same time." (AudioFile)

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  • Mr. Andre
  • Scottsdale, az United States
  • 11-04-09

Felt like a Thesis

It has been a long time since I have read any Melville, so I can't tell if the author simply became so immersed in his prose that she lost track of ordinary language or if she intended this piece to be an homage of sorts to his style, but I found myself rolling my eyes over and over throughout this book. It felt very much like a cocktail conversation with a knowledgable but insecure and overcompensating grad student.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful