Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dana, Melville share birthday, love of the sea

Richard Henry Dana, Jr. and Herman Melville
It is the birthday of writers Richard Henry Dana, Jr. (1815) and Herman Melville (1819), who were contemporaries. They not only shared a birthday but also a love of the sea.

Dana, though born into an educated, upper class New England family, decided to take time off from his studies at Harvard to sign on as an able-bodied seaman on a merchant vessel bound for California. He returned to Boston, finished school and became a lawyer. He published Two Years Before the Mast (1840) and then wrote a handbook for seafarers, The Seaman's Friend (1841). Dana pursued a lucrative career as a lawyer.

Melville, who was four years younger, was enthralled with Dana's book, though scholars doubt that he was spurred to go to sea because of it. Melville spent much longer time at sea. He was born in New York City to an established family with Boston roots, but his father went bankrupt and then died when Herman was 12. As a youth, he first worked on a ship bound for Liverpool. Later he worked aboard a whaler, jumped ship in the South Pacific, lived among island natives, became a beachcomber, worked on other ships, lived in Hawaii and eventually returned to Boston and wrote about his adventures.

In 1850, he wrote to Dana that he was halfway through writing Moby-Dick (1851). They exchanged letters but scholars say the younger Melville was much more open and detailed in his. Dana seemed stilted and reserved, though he did apparently help Melville find a publisher in London. Melville was a far more prolific writer, and critics say, a far better one. Moby-Dick is considered to be among the greatest American novels and a fine example of world literature.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Our specialties

Our specialties include Floridiana (Florida History, Florida Authors, Florida Related Ephemera), American History, Literature of the South, Military History (including, but not limited to, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Korean War), Children’s Literature, Maps, Leather Bindings and Rare & Unusual items.

We also have a wide variety of general stock, including a large Landscape/Gardening section, a great selection of Christian/Church History/Bible Study titles, Beat Literature, and much more. Please browse our extensive category list.

Appraisal service

Michael F. Slicker, is one of about 450 qualified members of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, Inc., and its affiliate the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.

Condition of the book, demand for it and history of comparable sales are among the factors considered in evaluating the value of a book. Other factors may apply as well.

Please contact us for more information regarding our certified appraisal services. We encourage you to visit our website, Lighthouse Books, ABAA

Florida Antiquarian Book Fair

Michael Slicker was the founding president of the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association and has served as chairman of its annual Florida Antiquarian Book Fair since its inception.

The 36th annual book fair is set for April 21-23, 2017 at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg.

The fair is the oldest and largest antiquarian book fair in the Southeast. Learn more about the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair and the Florida Antiquarian Booksellers Association.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper II by 2008

Back to TOP