Studium anglistiky na KAA UPOL

Melville, Herman. (1819 - 1891).

L i f e

- a sailor: jumped the whaling ship Acushnet for a too rough discipline, and spent several weeks among the cannibals on the South Pacific islands

- his realistic and rich prose not acknowledged in his lifetime => suffered financial problems

W o r k

< influenced by William Shakespeare and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s dark aspect

- saw and felt a complex moral reality: on one pole affirmed the grandeur of the individual x on the other perceived his egotism

N o v e l s :

Typee (1846), sequel Omoo (1847):

- travel and adventure stories

Mardi (1849):

- a political allegory in the realm of philosophy, satire, and fantasy

Redburn (1849) and White Jacket (1850):

- gently ironic stories of his early maritime experience

Moby Dick (1851):

- Captain Ahab seeks to kill the white whale to revenge the loss of his leg

- the destructive mission results in sinking of the ship

Pierre (1852):

- a dark exploration of sexuality, identity, depravity, and inevitable destruction

The Confidence-Man (1857):

- criticised both the American culture and its corrupt language

S h o r t  S t o r i e s :

The Piazza Tales (1856):

- filled with vertical images and phallic shapes: lightning rods, masts, chimneys, etc.

Billy Budd, Sailor (1924, posthumously):

- a classic confrontation between good and evil

 - an innocent young sailor finds himself unable to defend himself against a wrongful accusation and is consequently hanged

Bartleby, the Scrivener (1853):

- an unprecedented case in the tedium of a law office

The Encantadas or Enchanted Isles (1854):

- a wasteland with a cruel natural life and even crueller human life

P o e t r y :

Battle Pieces (1866):

- a collection of Civil War poems

Clarel (1876): 

- an 18,000-line long poem exploring religion x Darwinian scepticism

John Marr and Other Sailors (1888)


(Picture: Wikimedia Commons).

  • Author

    Herman Melville. (1819 - 1891). American.
  • Work

    Novelist. Short story writer. Poet. Author of Moby Dick (1851).
  • Genres

    Romanticism. Psychological realism. Adventure novel.


Baym, Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995.

Bercovitch, Sacvan, ed. The Cambridge History of American  Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Cunliffe, Marcus. The Literature of the United States. London: Penguin, 1991.

Lauter, Paul, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Lexington: D. C. Heath, 1994.

McQuade, Donald, gen.ed. The Harper American Literature. New York: Harper & Collins, 1996.

Ruland, Richard, Malcolm Bradbury. Od  puritanismu k postmodernismu. Praha: Mladá fronta, 1997.

Vančura, Zdeněk, ed. Slovník spisovatelů: Spojené státy americké. Praha: Odeon, 1979.


"All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event--in the living act, the undoubted deed--there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask"!

Captain Ahab in Moby Dick (1851).


© 2008-2015 Všechna práva vyhrazena.