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Typee Hardcover – Large Print, Aug 18 2008

4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 356 pages
  • Publisher: BiblioLife; large type edition edition (Aug. 18 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0554267136
  • ISBN-13: 978-0554267135
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 2.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 794 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
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Product Description

Review

"A classic of American literature [and] the pioneer in South Sea romance."
- Arthur Stedman --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

"A classic of American literature [and] the pioneer in South Sea romance."
- Arthur Stedman

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I read this book to get a better sense of Melville's abilities and his style. Having read Moby Dick, I was prepared for a complicated and somewhat dissolute read with great symbolism. Typee is none of that, though it has elements of the style that would, through Moby Dick make Melville post-humously famous. Written today, this book would not be a hit, though one can see why it was when it was published in the 1800s. The symbolism in Typee is not as substantive or immediately obvious as in MD, but it is present and gives this work more depth than is at first apparent. I don't know that I have an accurate sense of what Melville is all about after reading this and MD, and I would probably recommend one read Billy Budd or at least another novel in order to really get a feel for Melville.
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Format: Paperback
I just finished Typee and enjoyed the book a great deal (I'm 38, male, and love reading for general education and enjoyment). A few months ago, I made a noble attempt to wade through Moby Dick (I jumped to the last chapter after about a quarter of the book) and I was curious to see if "early Melville" was any easier.
Typee is billed as both an adventure novel and as shocking anthropology. I found Typee well written, but a bit dense with long, detailed, descriptions about trees, landscapes, etc. that don't apply to characters, nor plot (and did put me to sleep). These long passages make it hard for me to call this an adventure novel, but this style seems to be standard fair when reading early American adventure novels (like "Last of the Mohicans" by J. F. Cooper).
Reading Typee in 1997 doesn't produce the same moral outrage as it did when it was first published in 1846. But, looking for Melville's cultural observations and comparisons was a great part of what made Typee so very enjoyable. So, for me, it is isn't the adventure that makes the book worth reading, but the author's, and my own, observations and comparisons of different lifestyles.
While reading Melville's observations on a primitive culture, I began to marvel at the his ability to transcend his culture and to describe the vastly different culture he had experienced. In Typee he writes about everything from eating raw fish, primitive idol worship, polyandry (multiple husband) marriages, and cannibalism, all without the negative judgment or superiority one might expect from an American in 1847. I must admire the observer when, discussing cannibalism, he writes: "But here, Truth, who loves to be centrally located, is again found between two extremes;...
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Format: Paperback
Melville was 22 in 1842 when he deserted a whaling ship in
the South Pacific and was captured by a tribe of Tahitian
headhunters. His first novel, "Typee," was borne from these
experiences. Although his tale of life among the
savages proved hugely popular as an adventurous yarn,
the book is memorable for its anthrological observations
of primitive tribal life: the young girls preparing
breadfruit and frolicking in the crsytal blue seas,
the lazy weathered warriors wearing their tattoo masks and
lolling in huts. Some people banned the book
from libraries. Certainly they objected to naked island
girls engaging in free love, but what really angered
good churchgoing souls was the author's antagonistic
attitude towards missionaries. The book is America's first
indictment of colonialism and its withering effect
on native cultures. Observes Melville, "The sympathy which
Christendom feels for them has, alas!, in too many
instances proved their bane." The exuberance that runs
through these pages will wane for Melville in his later
years. None of his other great works will be as widely
read. He will be considered a failure, fall into debt,
suffer ill health. His son will committ suicide before
his eyes. No one will buy "Moby Dick"; the crisp,
unopened copies of the first edition will lie in a
warehouse until they are consumed by fire. The
author will lapse into depression, madness. He will,
finally, stop writing altogether and live in obscurity
and poverty until his death. No one expected his name
to be remembered.
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Format: Paperback
Herman Melville's style of detailed descriptions certainly comes though in this slim 210-page volume written in 1846. He describes life aboard ship, the geography of the island and the technical aspects of making clothing, tattooing and preparing food as well as many native ritual customs. This is all seen through the eyes of his lead character, Tom, called Tommo by the natives. The book put me right there with him, when, exhausted and starved, he and Toby, the other seaman he jumped ship with, find their way into the world of the Typees. The two sailors are treated well, but are kept virtual prisoners and there is apprehension throughout about the Typees' cannibal tendencies. In spite of that, there is also joy as Tommo views the simple and carefree life of the people he considers savages and contrasts it to life in the so-called "civilized world".
The Typees seem perennially happy and content. They spend a lot of time amusing themselves as food is plentiful and there is not much work to do. Their lives are idealized so much that I found myself raising a quizzical eyebrow at times. But the story was so good and so well written that I didn't let it get in my way of enjoying the book, which must have been received with similar delight when it was published as it not only painted a picture of a better world, it appealed to everyone's sense of adventure.
I loved the book, especially the social commentary. I found myself reading it quickly and at odd times during to day just to see what would happen on the next page. It sure was a good story and seems as fresh and meaningful today it when was published more than a century and a half ago.
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