Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, writer of short stories, and poet from the American Renaissance period. Most of his writings were published between 1846 and 1857. Best known for his sea adventure Typee (1846) and his whaling novel Moby-Dick (1851), he was almost forgotten during the last thirty years of his life.
Melville’s writing draws on his experience at sea as a common sailor, exploration of literature and philosophy, and engagement in the contradictions of American society in a period of rapid change. The main characteristic of his style is probably its heavy allusiveness, a reflection of his use of written sources. Melville’s way of adapting what he read for his own new purposes, scholar Stanley T. Williams wrote, “was a transforming power comparable to Shakespeare’s”.