The Piazza Tales
  • Publication Date: July 15, 2018
  • ISBN: 9781554813100 / 1554813107
  • 300 pages; 5½" x 8½"
Exam Copy

Availability: Worldwide

The Piazza Tales

  • Publication Date: July 15, 2018
  • ISBN: 9781554813100 / 1554813107
  • 300 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Herman Melville’s The Piazza Tales is the only collection of short fiction that he published in his lifetime, and it includes his two most famous short stories, “Bartleby, the Scrivener” and “Benito Cereno” along with the less well-known but deeply engaging sketches of the Galapagos Islands that make up “The Encantadas” and three more short stories: “The Piazza,” “The Bell-Tower,” and “The Lightning-Rod Man.” This new edition places these stories in the context of nineteenth-century debates over slavery, free will and determinism, science and technology, and the nature and value of literary artistry. The stories in The Piazza Tales demonstrate the global range of Melville’s cultural and aesthetic concerns, as Melville set his stories in locales ranging from rural western Massachusetts and Wall Street in the United States to the Pacific coast of South America and southern Europe.

This edition is especially concerned with Melville’s engagement with both political questions related to slavery and imperialism and aesthetic questions germane to the short story tradition as developed by his near contemporaries Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe.

Appendix A: The Art of the Short Story and the Romance

  1. Herman Melville, “Hawthorne and his Mosses” (1850)
  2. Edgar Allan Poe, Rev. of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales, Graham’s, 1842
  3. Rev. of The Piazza Tales in United States Democratic Review, September 1856
  4. Nathaniel Hawthorne, Preface to The House of the Seven Gables (1851)

Appendix B: Race, Slavery and Inequality

  1. Amasa Delano, Narrative of Voyages and Travels in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, Comprising Three Voyages Round the World, Together With a Voyage of Survey and Discovery in the Pacific Ocean and Oriental Islands
  2. Frederick Douglass, The Heroic Slave (1852)
  3. George Lippard, New York, Its Upper Ten and Lower Million (1854)
  4. John Quincy Adams, The United States v. The Amistad (1841)
  5. The slave deck of the bark “Wildfire,” brought into Key West on April 30, 1860

Appendix C: Allusions to Poetry and the Bible

  1. “Mariana,” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1830)
  2. Matthew 5:38-48, The Bible, King James Version
  3. Job 3:1-26, The Bible, King James Version
  4. Judges 4:4-22, The Bible, King James Version

Appendix D: Science and Philosophy

  1. Charles Darwin, Journal of Researches Into the Geology and Natural History of the Various Countries Visited by H.M.S Beagle Under the Command of Captain Fitzroy, R.N. From 1832 to 1836 [October 1835] (1840)
  2. Jonathan Edwards, Freedom of the Will (1754), Section V, Concerning the Notion of Liberty, and of Moral Agency
  3. Joseph Priestley, The Doctrine of Philosophic Necessity Illustrated (1777)

Brian Yothers is Frances Spatz Leighton Endowed Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Texas at El Paso.