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Herman Melville was born on 1st August 1819. He went on his first sea voyage in 1839 as cabin boy on the St Lawrence bound for Liverpool. He later became a teacher before taking to the seas again on the Achushnet. On this voyage he abandoned ship and lived among the natives of the Marquesas Islands for some time. This sojourn inspired his books Typee and Omoo which were published to great success. He became close friends with the writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, to whom he dedicated Moby-Dick. Moby-Dick and his later works and poetry were not particularly successful in his lifetime. Moby-Dick did not sell out its first print run of 3,000 copies. It was not until the 1920s that his work was properly appreciated. Moby-Dick is now considered one of the most important American novels of all time. Melville died on 28th September 1891.

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"A classic of American literature [and] the pioneer in South Sea romance."
- Arthur Stedman

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