His World and Work
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About the author
Andrew Delbanco is the author of The Death of Satan: How Americans Have Lost the Sense of Evil, Required Reading: Why Our American Classics Matter Now, and The Real American Dream: A Meditation on Hope, all of which were New York Times Notable Books. The Puritan Ordeal won the Lionel Trilling Award from Columbia University. He has edited Writing New England, The Portable Abraham Lincoln, volume two of The Sermons of Ralph Waldo Emerson (with Teresa Toulouse), and, with Alan Heimert, The Puritans in America. His essays appear regularly in The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, The New York Times Book Review, Raritan, and other journals.
In 2001 Delbanco was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2003 was named New York State Scholar of the Year by the New York Council for the Humanities. He is a trustee of the National Humanities Center and the Library of America and has served as vice president of PEN American Center. Since 1995 he has been the Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University.
If Dickens was nineteenth-century London personified, Herman Melville was the quintessential American. With a historian’s perspective and a critic’s insight, award-winning author Andrew Delbanco marvelously demonstrates that Melville was very much a man of his era and that he recorded — in his books, letters, and marginalia; and in conversations with friends like Nathaniel Hawthorne and with his literary cronies in Manhattan — an incomparable chapter of American history. From the bawdy storytelling of Typee to the spiritual preoccupations building up to and beyond Moby Dick, Delbanco brilliantly illuminates Melville’s life and work, and his crucial role as a man of American letters.
In the press
"Andrew Delbanco places the enigmatic Herman Melville in a light that is remarkably sustained and often brilliant. His acute sense of the man, his wide-angled literary insight, and the range and strength of his grasp of Melville's world enable Delbanco to deliver full-scale the strangest of our literary giants. He also has placed himself in the company of Edmund Wilson, Alfred Kazin and Richard Chase as a trustee of our literature who writes as well as he reads." --Ted Solotaroff“Delbanco’s Melville is a reward, a brilliant and nourishing narrative that reaches beyond literary biography to an exuberant cultural history. His voice is strong–at times personal in his fresh reading of Melville’s life and work.” –Maureen Howard