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Typee – Herman Melville


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Wordsworth Classics, 1994, Medium Format Paperback – Classics – 210pp.

Typee is the first book by American writer Herman Melville, published in the early part of 1846, when Melville was 26 years old, and was recognized as a classic of travel and adventure literature.

Based on the author’s own experiences, as well as oral and written sources, in the South Seas, Melville’s story of two runaway sailors held captive by the Typees is a vivid portrait of Polynesian life. Many readers delighted in its racy scenes, but religious fundamentalists saw to it that criticism of missionaries was expurgated from the American text.

Five years later, the religious press took revenge on Moby-Dick when Melville again displayed his persistent scepticism and irreverence and celebrated cultural relativity as he had done in Typee. As Melville’s fame declined after the 1850s, readers forgot the old religious denunciations and remembered Typee as the best of his books. Throughout his lifetime, Melville’s most famous and popular character was Fayaway.

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