Though most famous for Moby Dick, Herman Melville also wrote compelling sketches, short stories, and novels, including: the ten sketches that comprise The Encantadas, or The Enchanted Isles (1854), the novella Benito Cereno (1855), and the novel Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life (1846). As with his magnum opus, Melville’s shorter fiction draws not only on his eighteen-month voyage to the South Seas on whaling and trading vessels but also on historical sources. The mysterious desolation of the Galapagos Islands, the commandeering of a Spanish slave ship off the southern tip of Chile by its enslaved cargo, and the exotic sexual mores and cannibalism on Nuku Hiva are some of the provocative topics in Melville’s ethnographic, historical, and imaginative shorter works. All aboard for Herman Melville’s reconsideration of Romantic notions of the noble savage and the divinity of the natural world!
Read: The Encantadas, or Enchanted Isles, Benito Cereno, and select passages from the novel Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life (1846). All works are in the public domain and available at gutenberg.org.