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The Enchanted Isles [Paperback]

Herman Melville , Margaret Drabble
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Sept. 1 2002 Hesperus Classics
One of Melville’s earliest writings, The Enchanted Isles is a hauntingly beautiful descriptive work inspired by a tour of the Galapagos Islands. Originally penned as a travelogue, Melville’s writings form a series of evocative sketches of each of the Galapagos Islands. Recounting their myths and legends, he conjures up the spirit of each in astonishing detail. Read together, they create a timeless classic, perfectly capturing the islands’ eternal charm and mystery.

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From the Publisher

Hesperus Press, as suggested by their Latin motto, Et remotissima prope, is dedicated to bringing near what is far—far both in space and time. Works by illustrious authors, often unjustly neglected or simply little known in the English–speaking world, are made accessible through a completely fresh editorial approach or new translations. Through these short classic works, which feature forewords by leading contemporary authors, the modern reader will be introduced to the greatest writers of Europe and America. An elegantly designed series of exceptional books.

From the Author

'it is now widely recognised that we have here some of the most stirring and evocative prose that Melville ever wrote'. - From the Foreword by Margaret Drabble

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Melville's Inferno Sept. 26 2003
Format:Paperback
15 years ago I read all of Melville's novels and most of his other prose, but I must have missed this one. So along comes this handsome edition of the sketches and narratives about the Encantadas (Darwin's Galapagos)- and not an early work, but written after Moby Dick - which in less than a hundred pages shows once again what an astounding writer Melville is. The four pages devoted to the island's tortoises are as good as any he wrote about whales. A sample: "That these tortoises are the victims of a penal, or malignant, or perhaps a downright diabolical enchanter, seems in nothing more likely than in that strange infatuation of hopeless toil which so often possesses them. I have known them in their journeyings ram themselves heroically against rocks, and long abide there, nudging, wriggling, wedging, in order to displace them, and so hold on their inflexible path. Their crowning curse is their drudging impulse to straightforwardness in a belittered world." Of the actual narratives, the most anthologized is the story about the Chola Widow, which is heartbreaking, but even more so when read in the context of the whole suite of pieces. If you think you won't like Melville, try this book; and if you do like Melville, don't miss it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melville's Inferno Sept. 26 2003
By Penelope V. Burt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
15 years ago I read all of Melville's novels and most of his other prose, but I must have missed this one. So along comes this handsome edition of the sketches and narratives about the Encantadas (Darwin's Galapagos)- and not an early work, but written after Moby Dick - which in less than a hundred pages shows once again what an astounding writer Melville is. The four pages devoted to the island's tortoises are as good as any he wrote about whales. A sample: "That these tortoises are the victims of a penal, or malignant, or perhaps a downright diabolical enchanter, seems in nothing more likely than in that strange infatuation of hopeless toil which so often possesses them. I have known them in their journeyings ram themselves heroically against rocks, and long abide there, nudging, wriggling, wedging, in order to displace them, and so hold on their inflexible path. Their crowning curse is their drudging impulse to straightforwardness in a belittered world." Of the actual narratives, the most anthologized is the story about the Chola Widow, which is heartbreaking, but even more so when read in the context of the whole suite of pieces. If you think you won't like Melville, try this book; and if you do like Melville, don't miss it.
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