Contributor biographical information for Moby-Dick, or, The whale / Herman Melville; introduction by Andrew Delbanco ; notes and explanatory commentary by Tom Quirk.

Bibliographic record and links to related information available from the Library of Congress catalog

Biographical text provided by the publisher (may be incomplete or contain other coding). The Library of Congress makes no claims as to the accuracy of the information provided, and will not maintain or otherwise edit/update the information supplied by the publisher.

Herman Melville_was born on August 1, 1819, in New York City, the son of a merchant. Only twelve when his father died bankrupt, young Herman tried work as a bank clerk, as a cabin boy on a trip to Liverpool, and as an elementary schoolteacher, before shipping in January 1841 on the whaler_Acushnet, bound for the Pacific. Deserting ship the following year in the Marquesas, he made his way to Tahiti and Honolulu, returning as an ordinary seaman on the frigate_United States_to Boston, where he was discharged in October 1844. Books based on these adventures won him immediate success. By 1850 he was married, had acquired a farm near Pittsfield, Massachussetts (where he was the impetuous friend and neighbor of Nathaniel Hawthorne), and was hard at work on his masterpiece_Moby-Dick._Literary success soon faded; his complexity increasingly alienated readers. After a visit to the Holy Land in January 1857, he turned from writing prose fiction to poetry. In 1863, during the Civil War, he moved back to New York City, where from 1866 to1885 he was a deputy inspector in the Custom House, and where, on September 28, 1891, he died. A draft of a final prose work,_Billy Budd, Sailor, was left unfinished and uncollated; packed_tidily away by his widow, it was not rediscovered and published until 1924.

Andrew Delbanco_was born in 1952. Educated at Harvard, he has lectured extensively throughout the United States and abroad. In 2001, Time named him_“America's Best Social Critic”_and in 2011 he was awarded a National Humanities Medal. Two of his previous works,_The Puritan Ordeal_and_Melville: His World and Work_ received the Lionel_Trilling Book Award at Columbia University, where he is Director of American Studies and Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

Tom Quirk_is Catherine Paine Middlebush Professor of English at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is the editor of the Penguin Classics editions of Mark Twain’s_Tales,_Speeches, Essays, and Sketches_(1994) and Ambrose Bierce’s_Tales of Soldiers and Civilians and Other Stories_(2000) and co-editor of_The Portable American Realism Reader_(1997). His recent books include_Nothing Abstract: Investigations in the American Literary Imagination_(2001) and_Mark Twain and Human Nature (2007).

Coralie Bickford-Smith_is an award-winning designer at Penguin Books (U.K.), where she has created several highly acclaimed series designs. She studied typography at Reading University and lives in London.]]

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Ahab, Captain (Fictitious character) -- Fiction.
Whales -- Fiction.
Whaling -- Fiction.