Herman Melville, an American author best known today for his novel Moby Dick, was actually more popular during his lifetime for some of his other works. He traveled extensively and used the knowledge gained during his travels as the basis for his early novels. In 1837, 5 at the age of eighteen, Melville signed as a cabin boy on a merchant ship that was to sail from his Massachusetts home to Liverpool, England. His experiences on this trip served as a basis for the novel Redburn (1849). In 1841 Melville set out on a whaling ship headed for the South Seas. After jumping ship in Tahiti, he wandered around the 10 islands of Tahiti and Moorea. This South Sea island sojourn was a backdrop to the novel Omoo (1847). After three years away from home, Melville joined up with a U.S. naval frigate that was returning to the eastern United States around Cape Horn.
The novel White-Jacket(1850)describes this lengthy voyage as a navy 15 seaman. With the publication of these early adventure novels, Melville developed a strong and loyal following among readers eager for his tales of exotic places and situations. However, in 1851, with the publication of Moby Dick, Melville's popularity started to diminish. Moby Dick, on one level the saga of the hunt for the great white 20 whale, was also a heavily symbolic allegory of the heroic struggle of man against the universe. The public was not ready for Melville's literary metamorphosis from romantic adventure to philosophical symbolism. It is ironic that the novel that served to diminish Melville's popularity during his lifetime is the one for which he is best known today.
1. The main subject of the passage is
2. According to the passage, Melville's early novels were
3. In what year did Melville's book about his experience as a cabin boy appear?
4. The passage implies that Melville stayed in Tahiti because
5. How did the publication of Moby Dick affect Melville's popularity?
6. According to the passage, Moby Dick
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