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Herman Melville

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Birthday
1, 1819
Birthplace
New York City, NY
Death Date
Sep 28, 1891 (72)
Birth Sign
Leo
Birthday
1, 1819
Birthplace
New York City, NY
Death Date
Sep 28, 1891 (72)

About

A towering figure in American literature, Melville is the author of several seafaring tales, including "Billy Budd, Sailor," "Typee," and "Moby-Dick." He is also famous for shorter works such as "Bartleby, the Scrivener" and "Benito Cereno."

Before Fame

He worked as a surveyor for the Erie Canal before taking a position on the crew of a New York ship headed for Liverpool. Later, he sailed on the whaling ship Acushnet, an experience that inspired his masterpiece novel, Moby-Dick.

Trivia

Despite the immense critical acclaim that Moby-Dick has received over the decades, the book was panned by critics at the time of its initial publication, and it ruined Melville's literary reputation during his own lifetime.

Family Life

He and his seven siblings were born in New York City to Maria Gansevoort Melvill and Allan Melvill. Herman Melville (who changed the spelling of his last name) married Elizabeth Shaw in 1847, and the couple had two daughters and two sons.

Associated With

He was very good friends with Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter.