Herman Melville was an American novelist. He was a major literary figure whose exploration of psychological and metaphysical themes foreshadowed 20th-century literary concerns but whose works remained in obscurity until the 1920s, when his genius was finally recognized. Melville was born August 1, 1819, in New York City, into a family that had declined in the world. He was the third child of eight. "The Gansevoorts were solid, stable, eminent, prosperous people; the (Herman's Father's side) Melvilles were somewhat less successful materially, possessing an unpredictable, erratic, mercurial strain." This difference between the Melville's and Gansevoort's was the beginning of the trouble for the Melville family. Herman's mother tried to work her way up the social ladder by moving into bigger and better homes. While borrowing money from the bank, her husband who died when Herman Melville was only 12, was spending more than he was earning. "It is my conclusion that Maria Melville never committed herself emotionally to her husband, but remained primarily attached to the well off Gansevoort family." Allan Melville was also attached financially to the Gansevoort's for support. There is a lot of evidence concerning Melville's relation to his mother Maria Melville. "Apparently the older son Gansevoort who carried the mother's maiden name was distinctly her favorite." This was a sense of alienation that Herman Melville felt from his mother. This was one of the first symbolists to the Biblical Ishamel.
He attended Albany Classical School in 1835. He left the school and was largely autodidact, devouring Shakespeare as well as historical, anthropological, and technical works. From the age of twelve, he worked as a clerk, teacher, and farmhand. In search of adventures, he shipped out in 1839 as a cabin boy on the whaler Acushnet. Upon returning to the U.S. he taug...
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