Loneliness in Herman Melville's Writing Essay

Loneliness in Herman Melville's Writing Essay

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Loneliness in Herman Melville's Writing


"[Melville read] The Solitude of Nature and of Man, or The Loneliness of Human Life (by Horatio Alger) making particular note of passages linked with solitude to the intellectual life" (528 Lorant).

Loneliness is a major theme of the life and work of Herman Melville. What makes one so damnably alone and is there a cure for this? Loneliness was something that Melville suffered with his whole life yet he must have cherished his alone time somewhat since a writer's life is to be alone. He has been diagnosed through his work as being bi-polar which may have much to do with how his artisitc career shaped up. How else to account for the seemingly impossible outburst of 7 novels in 7 years with such scope and magnitude and widely differing tones? It is the tone Melville takes with each of his books that is the key to his own personal feeling of loneliness at the time of his writing. I aim to show not only the development of this theme, but also the development of the man through the development of this theme. It is a most illuminating key to one's ambiguous inner self that all artists try to express and do justice.

"The whole landscape was one unbroken solitude" --TYPEE

TYPEE was his first novel and the adventurous, whimsical love of the process of writing is what comes through the most.TYPEE is not characterized by any of the language, dialog, or images of the dark, cracked embittered loneliness on display throught he rest of his career. To be sure, there is little of his later loneliness in TYPEE, but it's absence is worth mention and is notable. And this may hve had much to do with it's success as his subsequent darker works would be far less successful with critic...


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...xt because of the density of the text and the sustained poetic cohesiveness it achieves would be ruined. Given Melville's son's suicide; "Billy Budd" takes on all kinds of personal meanings and expressions. It is such a balanced work that reading it is like going through a dream or a memory which is what Budd and Melville's son have become. Melville, like the captain lives with their sons name always on their lips tot heir dying day. But as was said earlier, it's the tone that's the key and the tone here so gentle, quiet, and accepting as to be the most moving piece and appropriate final pieces to a career and a life because with Melville writing and his life were inseparable. In sum, by looking at this theme and his work you feel you get closer to its maker which is the best compliment they could hope for--and is the most unlonely thought and feeling one can have.

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