Books: Melville the Great

HERMAN MELVILLE—Lewis Mumford—Harcourt, Brace ($3.50).

The Man. A white hedonist basking deliciously among South Sea Islanders and a sturdy Cape Codder poising his malicious harpoon over boiling seas, join incongruously in the popular impression of Herman Melville. As a matter of fact, he was born of eminently conforming New Englanders and but for a few glorious seagoing years, lived drably enough as an indifferent farmer, writing feverishly in the slack winter season. Failing as farmer, failing too as popular writer, he aspired to a post at some foreign consulate, but had to content himself...

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