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The Piazza Tales


The Piazza Tales


The Piazza
Bartleby, The Scrivener
Benito Cereno
The Lightning-Rod Man
The Encantadas, or Enchanted Isles

The Bell-Tower

Unlike Melville's earlier works, The Piazza Tales is not a full-length novel or novella, but a collection of six short pieces. One of these, The Piazza, was written by Melville to serve as a title piece to the volume; the other five had previously been published in Putnam's Monthly Magazine.

The collection includes what has long been regarded as the author's three most important achievements in short fiction, ''Bartleby, the Scrivener'', ''Benito Cereno'', and ''The Encantadas'', his sketches of the Galapagos Islands.

He started writing short stories to provide for his family following the disastrous critical reception of Moby Dick on its first publication in 1851.

His career as a writer had been in something of a decline from the start, and yet as he became less and less successful, he produced the works for which he is now held in the very highest regard: a brilliant artist who could tap into our collective psyche; landmarks of nineteenth century American literature.

HERMAN MELVILLE (1819–1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, poet, sailor, and customs inspector. The author of numerous classic novels, essays, and short stories, he is perhaps best known for Moby Dick, Typee, The Confidence Man, Redburn, Clarel, Bartleby, the Scrivener, and Billy Budd. He is considered a literary colossus, and a central figure in the development of the modern novel.  

"An intensely controlled work, formally one of the most nearly perfect things Melville ever did."
-Hershel Parker


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