TYPEE: A ROMANCE OF THE SOUTH SEAS
or: A Peep at Polynesian Life
By Herman Melville
Typee is Melville's first novel, and is semi-autobiographical. The story is based on Melville's experience living among cannibals on an island in the South Seas. What was four weeks in reality is here expanded to four months. From its exotic locale and ideas of the "noble savage," to its hints at sexuality, this is very much a novel of its time. Definitely Romantic, with a capital "R."
Table of Contents
Introduction to the Edition of 1892
The book abounds in praises of the life of nature, alias savageism, and in slurs and flings against missionaries and civilization. When the author alludes to, or touches matters of fact at the Sandwich Islands, he shows the sheerest ignorance and utter disregard of truth.
The work was made, not for America, but for a circle, and that not the highest, in London, where theatres, opera-dancers, and voluptuous prints have made such unblushing walks along the edge of modesty as are here delineated to be rather more admired than we hope they are yet among us. We are sorry that such a volume should have been allowed a place in the "Library of American Books."
--"H.C.", in New York Evangelist, April 9 1846
The Evangelist speaks rather disparagingly of the book as being too romantic to be true, and as being too severe on the missionaries. But to my object: I am the true and veritable "Toby," yet living, and I am happy to testify to the entire accuracy of the work so long as I was with Melville, who makes me figure so largely in it....
--Richard Tobias Greene in Buffalo, New York Commercial Advertiser, July 1 1846