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Person Detail: Herman Melville

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General Information:
Full Name: Herman Melville
Biography:
(1819-1891) Writer, novelist. Herman Melville was one of the great American writers and figures in world literature. Born in Manhattan, New York, at 6 Pearl Street, into an impoverished family, he later lived at 104 East 26th Street (or 103 4th Avenue). The house is gone, but there is a plaque on the 26th Street side of the building at 357 Park Avenue South. Melville left school at age 15 and spent his teenage years at sea. These adventures would eventually inform his novels "Typee" (1846), "Omoo" (1847), "Redburn" (1849), and Melville's masterpiece "Moby-Dick" (1851). The first three novels were wildly successful romances, and Melville won regard as a literary figure in New York City circles. In 1850 Melville bought a farm near Pittsville, Massachusetts, where he lived next to Nathaniel Hawthorne. Melville's novel "Moby-Dick," and the work that followed it ("Pierre;" or, "The Ambiguities" (1852), "The Confidence Man" (1857), "The Piazza Tales" (1856)), was largely misunderstood and ill-received at the time of its publication. Meanwhile debts, poor health, and a diminishing audience took their collective toll on Melville, and he was forced to move back to New York City in 1866. He took a poorly paid job as a district inspector of customs, which he held for 19 years. Melville died in poverty and obscurity in New York City. In 1984 the United States Postal Service issued its fourth stamp in the Literary Arts series in honor of Herman Melville.
Author's Timeline:
1830 Albany County
Melville's family moved to Albany, New York, in 1830 and lived at 3 Clinton Square from 1834-1838. 
1832 Rensselaer County
Melville's family moved to Lansingburgh, New York, (now part of Troy, New York) in 1832. 
1819 New York County
Herman Melville was born in New York City in 1819. 
1891 New York County
Herman Melville lived at 104 East 26th Street in Manhattan, New York, from 1863 and until his death in 1891. The house is gone, but a plaque on the 26th Street side of the building at 357 Park Avenue South remains to his honor. 
1846 (Unknown) County
Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life
Wildly successful romance novel.  
1847 (Unknown) County
Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas
Wildly successful romance novel. 
1851 (Unknown) County
Moby-Dick
Melville's masterpiece. Was largely misunderstood and ill-received at the time of its publication. 
1849 (Unknown) County
Redburn
Successful romance novel. 
1852 (Unknown) County
Pierre or, The Ambiguities
Was largely misunderstood and ill-received at the time of its publication. 
1857 (Unknown) County
The Confidence Man
Was largely misunderstood and ill-received at the time of its publication. 
1891 Bronx County
Herman Melville is interred in the Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York. 
1849 (Unknown) County
Mardi: And a Voyage Thither
Novel. 
1850 (Unknown) County
White-Jacket; or, The World in a Man-of-War
Novel. 
1856 (Unknown) County
The Piazza Tales
Short story collection. 
1866 (Unknown) County
Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War
Poetry collection. 

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