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Redburn: His First Voyage (Dodo Press) (Paperback)

Redburn: His First Voyage (Dodo Press) (Paperback) by Herman Melville (Author)

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Summary

From the Inside Flap

Drawn from Melville's own adolescent experience aboard a merchant ship, Redburn charts the coming-of-age of Wellingborough Redburn, a young innocent who embarks on a crossing to Liverpool together with a roguish crew. Once in Liverpool, Redburn encounters the squalid conditions of the city and meets Harry Bolton, a bereft and damaged soul, who takes him on a tour of London that includes a scene of rococo decadence unlike anything else in Melville's fiction. In her Introduction, Elizabeth Hardwick writes, "Redburn is rich in masterful portraits--a gallery of wild colors, pretensions and falsehoods, fleeting associations of unexpected tenderness. . . . Redburn is not a document; it is a work of art by the unexpected genius of a sailor, Herman Melville."

This Modern Library Paperback Classic is set from the text of the first American edition of 1849. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Contemporary Review

"Notice of Books" from the December 1849 issue of The United States Democratic Review

Other Reviews

5 out of 5 stars Melville, Like Me, December 3, 1999

By "craftshack" (New York City)

This review is from: Redburn: Works of Herman Melville Volume Four (Paperback)

I'm one of those people who have read MOBY DICK a few times, so I may be biased towards Herman Melville, but I found REDBURN an excellent read.

Though it is an argueable point; many believe that REDBURN is based on Melville's first voyage. This may not be interesting to you if you are an adherent of NEW CRITICISM, but for any Melville fan or scholar this book sheds some light on Melville's persona.

I noticed some elements of REDBURN that would later surface in MOBY DICK and PIERRE -- as more developed themes. This book starts out as pretty straight forward adventure narrative, but leave it to Herman, by the middle of the book he goes off into his preaching, sermonizing, and editorializing . . . but I like that about Melville.

This might sound strange coming from a Melvillian 'scholar,' but Herman Mellville was not a good writer . . . he is an interesting author though, but he makes mistakes, and he often takes his stories through such long and twisted circumloctions that it is no wonder that many modern readers are turned off by him. However, if you love Melville despite his flaws then you will love REDBURN, because it shows the progress that Melville was making towards THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL, MOBY-DICK.

Herman Melville did not much care for REDBURN when he wrote it. He wrote it quickly and for the money, and then he tried to distance himself from it. He felt MARDI, the novel he wrote just before REDBURN, was the better, but it was panned. On the other hand, REDBURN recieved good reiviews in its day much to Melville's suprise . . . I learned all this in the afterword of the Northwest-Newberry Edition. The detailed history of REDBURN included in that edition is pretty interesting reading in itself if you are a Mevillian, like me.

I apologize for any typos . . . but no spell-check.

4 out of 5 stars Introduction to Melville, July 8, 2005

By Philip D. Tasho "PT" (Alexandria,VA) (REAL NAME)    

This review is from: Redburn: Works of Herman Melville Volume Four (Paperback)

Redburn refers to the main character of the novel Wellingborough Redburn, a young lad from New York who embarks on his first voyage to England as a member of the sailing crew. It is the story of lost innocence, breaking away from the comforts of home and country to experience life on one's own. Melville captures poetically, Redburn's journey, observations, feelings, and dark reality of life in pre-civil war America and England. If you have never read Melville before, this is a page turning introduction to a very much admired author. His style of writing is poetic, and clever and his narrative captures the feelings and thoughts of the time. I highly recommend it.


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