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Herman Melville An Anti- Transcendentalist or Not Melville Herman 1819-91 American novelist 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 The Gansevoorts were solid stable eminent prosperous people the Hermans Fathers side Melvilles were somewhat less successful materially possessing an unpredictable erratic mercurial strain Edinger 6 This difference between the Melvilles and Gansevoorts was the beginning of the trouble for the Melville family Hermans 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 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 Humford 23 Allan Melville was also attached financially to the Gansevoorts for support There is a lot of evidence concerning Melvilles relation to his mother Maria Melville Apparently the older son Gansevoort who carried the mothers maiden name was distinctly her favorite Edinger 7 This was a sense of alienation the Herman Melville felt from his mother This was one of the first symbolists to the Biblical Ishamel In 1837 he shipped to Liverpool as a cabin boy Upon returning to the US he taught school and then sailed for the South Seas in 1841 on the whaler Acushnet After an 18 month voyage he deserted the ship in the Marquesas Islands and with a companion lived for a month among the natives who were cannibals He escaped aboard an Australian trader leaving it at Papeete Tahiti where he was imprisoned temporarily He worked as a field laborer and then shipped to Honolulu Hawaii where in 1843 he enlisted as a seaman on the
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