Cover

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Contents

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Preface

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pp. vii-ix

Pierre; or, The Ambiguities, Herman Melville’s seventh book, was catastrophic for him. It lost him his English publisher, and reviewers of the American edition . . .

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1. Toward a Kraken Book

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pp. 1-31

Melville seems to have started writing Pierre; or, The Ambiguities about the time of the birth of his son Stanwix on 22 October 1851, perhaps before, perhaps . . .

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2. “This dream-house of the earth”: Books I and II

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pp. 32-56

Despite the elements of conventional plotting we noted at the end of chapter 1, the first two Books of Pierre introduce constant shifts in style and . . .

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3. “The flowing river in the cave of man”: Books III–V

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pp. 57-80

The first two Books make clear the essential nature of Pierre. An ambitious experiment in psychological fiction, its primary focus will be the complex . . .

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4. “The manly enthusiast cause”: Books VI–XII

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pp. 81-111

In Book VI, “Isabel, and the First Part of the Story of Isabel,” Melville at last satisfies his readers’ as well as Pierre’s desire to know more about the . . .

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5. The Pamphlet and the City: The Kraken Ending

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pp. 112-143

In Book XIII, “They Depart the Meadows,” the shortest Book in the novel, the Saddle Meadows section ends, with an ironic reminder of the opening . . .

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6. Cobbling the Harper Pierre: January–February 1852

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pp. 144-174

New Year’s Eve 1851 or New Year’s Day 1852, or a day or two either way, Melville took the train at Pittsfield for the eight-hour ride to New York City. His primary . . .

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7. Aftermath

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pp. 175-185

Back at Pittsfield, probably from the last week or week and a half of January, Melville toiled on, continuing to enlarge and fit together the manuscript . . .

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8. Faltering Recognition

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pp. 186-212

The hostility of the contemporary reviewers toward Pierre determined the way later readers perceived the book and was echoed in the brief comments . . .

Works Cited

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pp. 213-217

Index

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pp. 219-224