In January of 1841 the twenty-two-year-old Herman Melville shipped aboard the whaler Acushnet for a multi-year cruise. He had many motivations for doing this. There was, in the first place, a desire to see the world and test himself against its challenges; then there was a need to escape the stultifying confines and restrictions of a nineteenth-century “proper” American household; and finally, a longing to cleanse himself of his father’s failures, disgrace, and early death.Continue reading
He Who Believes In His Powers, Works Only To Please Himself
Samuel Johnson makes the following comment in his Lives of the Poets when discussing the life of the seventeenth-century poet John Gay:
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