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Selected Poetry of Herman Melville (1819-1891)


from Representative Poetry On-line
Prepared by members of the Department of English at the University of Toronto
from 1912 to the present and published by the University of Toronto Press from 1912 to 1967.
RPO Edited by Ian Lancashire
A UTEL (University of Toronto English Library) Edition
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries
© 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto

Index to poems

  1. The Bench of Boors
  2. The Berg (A Dream)
  3. Dupont's Round Fight (November, 1861)
  4. Greek Architecture
  5. The Maldive Shark
  6. The March into Virginia Ending in the First Manassas (July, 1861)
  7. Monody
  8. The Portent (1859)
  9. Shiloh: A Requiem (April, 1862)
  10. The Swamp Angel
  11. Tom Deadlight (1810)


Notes on Life and Works

Herman Melville, born August 1, 1819, in New York City, was educated at the New York Male High School (1825-29), Grammar School of Columbia College (1829-30), and Albany Academy (1830-31). He entered service in merchant shipping in 1839 and travelled the seas until 1844. This life led him to pen novels of the sea, notably Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life (1846), Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas (1847), Mardi: And a Voyage Thither (1849), Redburn: His Voyage (1849), White-Jacket; Or, The World in a Man-of-War (1850), and Moby-Dick: or, The Whale (1851). The public lost interest in his later fiction, although his short-fiction collection The Piazza Tales (1856) held masterpieces like Bartleby the Scrivener. Melville then turned to poetry, his Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War, some of the greatest poems about the Civil War, appearing in 1866. During his life as a customs inspector, and up to his death on September 28, 1891, he produced three more volumes of verse. He was survived by Elizabeth née Shaw, his spouse from 1847, two sons and two daughters.

Biographical information

Given name: Herman
Family name: Melville
Birth date: 1 August 1819
Death date: 28 September 1891
Nationality: American
Ethnicity: Dutch
Education
          New York Male High School: 1825 to 1829
          Grammar School of Columbia College: 1829 to 1830
          Albany Academy: 1830 to 1831
Occupations
          Mariner: 1839 to 1844
          novelist: 1846 to 1857
          Customs officer: 1866 to 1885
Buried at: Woodlawn Cemetery, the Bronx
First RPO edition: 2003