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Black Lamb

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Now in its 14th year of publication, this magazine was created to offer the discerning reader a stimulating selection of excellent original writing. Black Lamb Review is a literate rather than a literary publication. Regular columns by writers in a variety of geographic locations and vocations are supplemented by features, reviews, articles on books and authors, and a selection of “departments,” including an acerbic advice column and a lamb recipe.

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A Week in Literary History

August 1st, 2002

American novelist Herman Melville (Moby-Dick, 1851) is born in New York City in 1819. Exactly 100 years later, Melville’s granddaughter discovers the 340-page manuscript of Billy Budd, Foretopman in a trunk, 26 years after the author’s death in obscurity.

melvillephoto.jpgHerman Melville, b. August 1, 1819, d. 1891

Although often thought of these days as old-fashioned (like his neighbor Nathaniel Hawthorne), Herman Melville is in fact a very modern-seeming writer. After Moby-Dick, go back to the South Sea yarns Omoo and Typee, then the coming-of-age-at-sea novels Redburn and White Jacket, and then move on to the amazing mastery of Piazza Tales (The Encantadas, Bartleby the Scrivener, Benito Cereno) and, finally, Billy Budd, not published until almost forty years after Melville had died, completely forgotten, at the age of 72. With Mark Twain and Walt Whitman, one of the unassailable titans of American literature.

Suggested Reading Novels Typee, 1846. Omoo, 1847. Mardi, 1849. Redburn, 1849. White Jacket, 1850. Moby Dick, 1851. Pierre, 1852. Israel Potter, 1855. The Confidence Man, 1857. Billy Budd, Foretopman, 1924. Stories Piazza Tales, 1856.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: A Week in Literary History, Books and Authors | Link to this Entry

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