The Encantadas and Other Stories

The Encantadas and Other Stories

By Herman Melville

Dover Publications, Paperback, 9780486440842, 207pp.

Publication Date: April 15, 2005

Description
Best known as the creator of Captain Ahab and the great white whale of Moby-Dick, Herman Melville (181991) found critical and popular success with his first novels, which he based on his adventures in the South Seas. His reputation was diminished by his preoccupation with metaphysical themes and allegorical techniques in later works; and by the time of his death, his books were long forgotten. Generations later, Melville's readers recognized his work as keenly satirical and rich in elements that prefigured the emergence of existentialism and Freudian psychology.
Melville's critical fortunes temporarily rebounded in the early to mid-1850s, with the favorable reception of his contributions to "Harper's" and "Putnam's"two of the era's leading monthly magazines. This collection features fourteen of his works of short fiction from that periodmost prominently, "The Encantadas or Enchanted Isles." This series of descriptive sketches, a reminiscence from Melville's sailor days, reveals the ecologically pristine Galapagos Islands as both enchanting and horrifying. The other stories showcase the author's mastery of a diverse range of writing styles. "The Lightning-Rod Man" demonstrates his deftness at Dickensian comedy, and "The Piazza" anticipates his subsequent absorption with poetry. "The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids," with its incisive contrast of upper-class frivolity with the desperate lives of factory workers, offers a moving portrait of social inequality. These rediscovered tales by a writer who was ahead of his time provide a captivating blend of artistry and cultural commentary.


About the Author
Herman Melville was an American novelist, poet, and lecturer best known for his classic novel Moby-Dick, as well as for his short fiction "Bartleby, the Scrivener," and the unfinished "Billy Budd, Sailor." Educated as a teacher and later as an engineer, Melville s writing was heavily influenced by his time aboard the whaling ship Acushnet, and his month-long captivity by Typee natives on Nuka Hiva island. Although Melville experienced success early in his writing career, public indifference to his masterpiece, Moby-Dick, resulted in waning attention, and his work was almost entirely disregarded by the time of this death in 1891. Melville s work experienced a revival in the early twentieth century, and he is now considered one of the pre-eminent American writers of his time. He is also one of the most-studied novelists, and was the first writer to be collected and published by the Library of America.