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Melville’s pen ranges far and wide in this collection of his short stories and novellas, with subjects including a faraway mountain lodge, a magnificent rooster, a haunted table, and of course the inimitable scrivener Bartleby, whose tale is now viewed as one of the great English short stories. While his earlier novels had been well received, by this point in his career his star had waned, and it was only in the early twentieth century that his work, including these short stories, started to get the recognition it still enjoys today.
This volume collects Melville’s short stories verified to be in the U.S. public domain, in the order they were originally published in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine and Putnam’s Monthly Magazine (along with “The Piazza” which was written for the collection The Piazza Tales). The racism displayed in “Benito Cereno” against the African slaves is somewhat shocking to modern readers given our greater understanding of their story, but was common in the mid-nineteenth century.
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