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The Passages of H. M.: A Novel of Herman Melville
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Bibliographic Detail
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date November 2, 2010
Pages 454
Binding Hardcover
Book category Adult Fiction
ISBN-13 9780385522779
ISBN-10 0385522770
Dimensions 1 by 5.75 by 8.50 in.
Weight 1.35 lbs.
Availability§ Publisher Out of Stock Indefinitely
Original list price $26.95
§As reported by publisher
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Summaries and Reviews
Amazon.com description: Product Description: From the author of the international bestseller The Last Station, a stirring novel about the adventurous life and tragic literary career of Herman Melville.
 
As The Passages of H. M. opens, we see, through the eyes of his long-suffering wife Lizzie, an aging, angry, and drunken Herman Melville wreaking domestic havoc in his unhappy New York home. He is decades past his flourishing career as a writer of bestselling tales of seagoing adventures like Typee and Omoo. His epic but ungainly novel Moby-Dick was meant to make him immortal, but critics scoffed and readers fled. His days are spent trudging the docks of New York as a customs inspector and contemplating his malign literary fate. But within him is stirring, perhaps, one great work yet—the tale of a handsome sailor in the Napoleonic Wars, undone by one moment of uncontrollable rage . . .

Lizzie’s chapters alternate with third-person accounts of Melville’s crowded life: his shipping off to sea on a merchant vessel as an impoverished young aristocrat; his fateful voyage on a whaling ship; his desertion in the Marquesas Islands and sojourn with cannibals—a great adventure and polymor­phous sexual idyll—and his instant fame as a novelist; his fateful encounter and soul-deep friendship with Nathaniel Hawthorne; and the long years of physical decline and liter­ary obscurity.

Jay Parini creates a Melville who is at once sympathetic and maddening, in sync with the vast forces of the universe and hopelessly impractical and abstracted. And one who, in thought and deed, is unambiguously attracted to men—a surmise well supported by the known biographical facts but still sure to cre­ate controversy. Parini penetrates the mind and soul of a liter­ary titan, using the resources of fiction to humanize a giant while illuminating the sources of his matchless creativity.

Editions
Hardcover
Book cover for 9780385522779
 
The price comparison is for this edition
from Doubleday (November 2, 2010)
9780385522779 | details & prices | 454 pages | 5.75 × 8.50 × 1.00 in. | 1.35 lbs | List price $26.95
About: From the author of the international bestseller The Last Station, a stirring novel about the adventurous life and tragic literary career of Herman Melville.
Paperback
Book cover for 9780307386199
 
Reprint edition from Anchor Books (November 1, 2011)
9780307386199 | details & prices | 454 pages | 5.25 × 8.00 × 1.00 in. | 0.80 lbs | List price $16.95
This edition also contains The Passages of H. M.: A Novel of Herman Melville
About: With the same masterly touch that made The Last Station so powerful, Jay Parini penetrates the mind and soul of another literary titan.

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