Friday, September 30, 2016

Early, favorable notices of Typee and Omoo in The New York Herald

These two items are not transcribed or listed in Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews. Available online via the Library of Congress site, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

THE NEW ROBINSON CRUSOE.—A very singular and extraordinary book has just been published, by Herman Melville, brother to Gansevoort Melville, Secretary of the American legation in London, describing a captivity which he underwent on one of the South Sea Islands. Some of the scenes are most exciting, equalling those depicted by the celebrated Defoe. The book is written with great elegance and perspicuity, and would appear at first to be fabulous, but we are assured, from the best sources, that the book describes, throughout, nothing but sober facts. It has received a variety of criticisms from the London journals, and also by those in this country, and some appear to doubt whether it is not fictitious.

It is certainly one of the more interesting books that has come from the press this year.
--New York Herald, April 28, 1846
From The New York Herald, May 24, 1847:

New Books.

OMOO, by Herman Melville, author of Typee—Harper and Brothers.—This work is destined to create as much excitement in the literary world as Typee did. It is full of incidents and adventures among the natives of the South Sea Islands, admirably connected, and written in an easy off hand manner that charms the reader. We will be very much mistaken if this work do not reach half a dozen editions. We cannot refrain from giving the following graphic description of an outbreak of the crew of the ship on which our author was on board.


[Excerpts all of Omoo, Chapter 24 from "The purpose of Bembo had been made known to the men generally by the watch…." to "Indeed, no one but Jermin could have prevented this murder."]

His adventures among the natives are drawn in the same masterly manner. 
--New York Herald, May 24, 1847

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