Herman Melville (born Melvill; August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, and poet of the American Renaissance period. Among his best-known works are Moby-Dick (1851); Typee (1846), a romanticized account of his experiences in Polynesia; and Billy Budd, Sailor, a posthumously published novella. Although his reputation was not high at the time of his death, the 1919 centennial of his birth was the starting point of a Melville revival, and Moby-Dick grew to be considered one of the great American novels. Melville was born in New York City, the third child of a prosperous merchant whose death in 1832 left the family in dire financial straits. He took to sea in 1839 as a common sailor on a merchant ship and then on the whaler Acushnet, but he jumped ship in the Marquesas Islands. Typee, his first book, and its sequel, Omoo (1847), were travel-adventures based on his encounters with the peoples of the islands. Their success gave him the financial secu...
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