Herman Melville Biography | Author of Moby-Dick

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Melville was born in New York City on August 1, 1819. He was the third of eight children born to Allan and Maria Melville. His father, an importer, died in 1832, having struggled in vain to establish a sense of financial security for his family. Although only thirteen years old, Herman immediately went to work as a bank clerk to help support his family. His older brother, Gansevoort, was always considered the most promising son, and for several years the family depended upon his business endeavors. But by 1837 Gansevoort was bankrupt and the Melvilles had to rely on wealthy relatives for financial assistance.

After a brief spell as a schoolteacher, Melville signed up to serve as a cabin boy on the St. Lawrence. Afterwards, he returned to teaching, but this early adventure had whetted his appetite for the sea. On January 3, 1841, he set sail aboard the Acushnet, a whaling vessel, sailing...

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This section contains 566 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Moby-Dick Study Guide
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Moby-Dick from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.