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The Handsome Sailor

Duberstein, Larry

2 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0786216859 / ISBN 13: 9780786216857
Published by Thorndike, Me, 1999
Used Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From Add-More Books (Dry Fork, VA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

X-Library with normal flaws.LARGE PRINT--------The hard cover has very light shelf wear. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # NO 29568

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Handsome Sailor

Publisher: Thorndike, Me

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hard Cover

Illustrator: Cover Art

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: No Jacket

Edition: Large Print.

Book Type: Hard Back

About this title

Synopsis:

After writing "Moby Dick", Herman Melville retreats from public life, burning letters and manuscripts, and working for the New York Customs House for more than two decades

Review:

"I would prefer not to" could be the motto not only of Herman Melville's lugubrious Bartleby the Scrivener but also of Melville himself--at least during the latter half of his life. For decades after the coolly received publication of Moby Dick, during which he worked as a $4-a-day customs inspector, Melville wrote little and published nothing. Not until beginning Billy Budd almost 35 years later did Melville break his literary silence. What are we to make of this reticence? Perversity? Spite? The world's worst case of writer's block? How did a seafaring adventurer and the century's greatest "thought-diver" recede into the dull, quotidian life of a family man and civil servant? In The Handsome Sailor, Larry Duberstein tackles the problem head-on, with mixed results. His historical novel locates the source of Melville's angst in a failed love affair with the exuberant Sarah Morewood (a historical figure, though little evidence exists to suggest they were lovers). Likewise, he links Melville's late-life regeneration with yet another affair, this one with the (entirely fictional) widow Cora Stevenson. It's an odd, somewhat sentimental choice for parsing the riddle of Melville's later years, especially considering the theory--persistent in some academic circles--that Melville was gay. In fact, Melville himself fails to emerge in his complete and complex humanity, perhaps because the author saddles him with an impossibly weighty burden of awe. Nonetheless, Duberstein's portrait of late-19th-century Manhattan is a wonder, rife with precise period detail and elegant prose.

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