Home Books Critical Companion to Herman Melville

Critical Companion to Herman Melville
  • Authored by: Carl Rollyson, Lisa Paddock, and April Gentry
  • From the Series: Critical Companion to
  • Trim Size: 7-3/8 x 9-1/4
  • ISBN-10: 081606461X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-8160-6461-8
  • Status: In Stock
  • List Price: $75.00
  • Imprint: Facts On File
  • Published: 10/01/2006
  • Dewey Number: 813.3
  • Reading Level: Grades 9 and up
  • Pages: 400


Praise for the previous edition:
"An excellent resource for scholars of Melville and for undergraduates and graduate students."—Choice

"Filled with solid information...useful...will meet the needs of most school libraries."—School Library Journal

An excellent resource for scholars of Melville and for undergraduates and graduate students."—Choice

Critical Companion to Herman Melville examines the life and work of a writer who spent much of his career in obscurity. Herman Melville has since become known as one of America's greatest novelists, short story writers, and poets. The author of Moby-Dick, Billy Budd, Typee, White-Jacket, "Bartleby the Scrivener," and many other classic works, Melville was rediscovered in the 1920s by a new generation of writers who saw in his writing an evolving sense of modernism. His work is now an integral part of the high school and college curriculum, and writers as diverse as Jack London, William Faulkner, Norman Mailer, and Cormac McCarthy have paid homage to Melville's poetry and prose.

Entries in this comprehensive volume examine the characters and settings of Melville’s novels and short stories, the critics and scholars who commented on his work, and his friends and associates, including such prominent literary figures as Oliver Wendell Holmes and Nathaniel Hawthorne. This book also contains all the text of the previously published Herman Melville A to Z, organized in a more user-friendly fashion. New to this edition are critical commentary essays on all of Melville's major stories, poems, and novels; an expanded biography of Melville; new illustrations; and new appendixes, including contemporary reviews of Melville's work, bibliographies, a chronology, a genealogy, and more.

Coverage includes:

  • A biography of Melville
  • Synopses and critical assessments of Melville's major and minor works
  • Details about family, friends, and associates
  • Analyses of the culture, times, and places in which Melville lived and wrote
  • Descriptions of whaling, South Seas travel, and other experiences that shaped Melville's work.


Black-and-white photographs and illustrations. Index. Appendixes. Bibliographies. Cross-references. Chronology.

About the Author(s)

Carl Rollyson holds a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto. He is a professor of English at Baruch College and has written numerous biographies and articles on 20th-century writers, including William Faulkner, Lillian Hellman, Norman Mailer, Martha Gellhorn, and Susan Sontag. He is the coauthor of Encyclopedia of American Literature.

Lisa Paddock earned her Ph.D. in English at the University of Toronto. She has written scholarly articles on literature for Mississippi Quarterly and many other journals. She is the coauthor of Encyclopedia of American Literature.

April Gentry is an assistant professor at Savannah State University in Georgia. She earned her Ph.D. in American literature from Southern Illinois University. She has written scholarly articles on literature for Mississippi Quarterly, Massachusetts Study in English, and other journals; contributed essays to American National Biography, Encyclopedia of American Biography, and other reference works; and written a biography of Emily Dickinson for young readers.

Reviews and Awards

"...valuable resource, especially for students just beginning their exploration of th[is] author...responsibly brings together a great deal of factual and interpretive information and will inspire further study. Recommended for high school, undergraduate, and large public libraries."
Library Journal

"[A] user-friendly resource for accessing the work of [a] literary master."
SLJ Curriculum Connections

"...recommended for high school and public libraries..."
American Reference Books Annual

"An excellent addition to an already strong series, recommended for high-school, public, and undergraduate collections."

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