Pierre by Herman Melville
or, The Ambiguities (Penguin Classics)

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'Ambiguities indeed! One long brain-muddling, soul-bewildering ambiguity (to borrow Mr. Melville's style), like Melchisedeck, without beginning or end-a labyrinth without a clue - an Irish bog without so much as a Jack o'the'lantern to guide the wanderer's footsteps - the dream of a distempered stomach, disordered by a hasty supper on half-cooked pork chops." So judged the New York Herald when Pierre was first published in 1852, with most contemporary reviewers joining in the general condemnation: 'a dead failure,' 'this crazy rigmarole,' and "a literary mare's nest." Latter-day critics have recognized in the story of Melville's idealistic young hero a corrosive satire of the sentimental-Gothic novel, and a revolutionary foray into modernist literary techniques.

About Herman Melville

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Herman Melville (1819-1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet who received wide acclaim for his earliest novels, such as Typee and Redburn, but fell into relative obscurity by the end of his life. Today, Melville is hailed as one of the definitive masters of world literature for novels including Moby Dick and Billy Budd, as well as for enduringly popular short stories such as Bartleby, the Scrivener and The Bell-Tower.
Published January 1, 1996 by Penguin Classic. 516 pages
Genres: Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Pierre


A few days after this, my other clerks being absent, and being in a great hurry to dispatch certain letters by the mail, I thought that, having nothing else earthly to do, Bartleby would surely be less inflexible than usual, and carry these letters to the post-office.

Oct 22 2015 | Read Full Review of Pierre: or, The Ambiguities (...

ForeWord Reviews

Higgins and Parker are editors of the Kraken edition of Pierre, a reconstruction of the early manuscript that Melville completed before, as they have deduced, poor reviews of Moby-Dick and the humiliating terms of the contract set off a round of revisions and insertions that transformed Pierre in...

| Read Full Review of Pierre: or, The Ambiguities (...

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