Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life


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Climbing the rugged cliffs of the volcanic island, they hide in the thick foliage from any searchers but realize they didn't have enough food and soon Melville's leg swells up slowing them down. Believing they arrived in the valley of the Happar, they make contact only to find themselves with the Typee. However the tribe embraces the two men and attempt to keep them amongst their number, but first Toby is able to 'escape' though Melville can't help but think he's been abandoned.

Melville then details his experiences along amongst the cannibalistic tribe before his own escape with assistance of two other natives of the island from other tribes. The mixture of narrative of Melville's adventures and the anthropological elements he gives of the Typee make for an interesting paced book that is both engaging and dull. Though Melville's lively descriptions of the events taking place are engaging, one always wonders if the event actually took place or was embellish or just frankly made up to liven up the overall tale. The addition of a sequel as an epilogue that described the fate of Toby, which at the time added credibility to Melville's book, is a nice touch so the reader doesn't wonder what happened to him.

Overall Typee is a nice, relatively quick book to read by one of America's best known authors. While not as famous as Melville's own Moby Dick, it turned out to be a better reading experience as the semi-autobiographical nature and travelogue nature gave cover for Melville to break into the narrative to relative unique things within the Typee culture. Here at Walmart. Your email address will never be sold or distributed to a third party for any reason. Due to the high volume of feedback, we are unable to respond to individual comments.

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Typee by Herman Melville

Average rating: 4. Herman Melville; Robert Sullivan. Walmart Tell us if something is incorrect. Only 3 left! Add to Cart. Arrives by Tuesday, Oct 1. Pickup not available. Product Highlights About This Item We aim to show you accurate product information. Manufacturers, suppliers and others provide what you see here, and we have not verified it.

Typee, a peep at Polynesian life ( edition) | Open Library

See our disclaimer. Melville's first and most popular novel during his lifetime, Typee is a provocative and lively account of his exploits in the exotic South Seas during the early s, where he journeyed as a young sailor. This edition includes notes on the text. It combines a tale of adventure with a first-hand account detailing the way of life of an average Polynesian tribe, something unheard of at the time. Unfortunately, according to most modern scholars, it isn't non-fiction. Details are hazy, but the best records indicate that Melville spent less than three weeks living with the natives, and embellished his story with tales gathered from other Pacific sailors and explorers.

And, judged as a story, it fails on a number of levels - it's poorly paced, intersparsed with tedious details about the minutae of island life, and quite repetitive. None of this would matter if Typee were a work of non-fiction, but in a novel they seriously impair the narrative. This is an interesting book for somebody interested in the genre, or in the history of the South Pacific, but is otherwise not reccomended. LibraryThing member usnmm2. Had read this many years ago, but really enjoyed it much more this time around. What Melville wrote is part travel log, part sea story tall tale and idyllic and sometimes romanticized look on a way of life that has disappeared.

This copy is based on the oringinal text that was printed in England. A much edited version was printed for the U. LibraryThing member jasongibbs. For many, Moby Dick is the only Melville experience they'll ever have, but Typee is a South Sea adventure that deserves reading. It puts the reader right in the heart of the Tahitian Islands during the age of great sailing ships.

LibraryThing member ErnestHemingway. LibraryThing member ekissel. Typee is an often humorous account of what Melville purports to be his own adventure of being voluntarily marooned in the Marquesas. I've read so much contemporary fiction lately that I've forgotten how entertaining it is to read an author who is a master of language.


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Melville's description of the sight of a ship after it's been at sea three times longer than planned is expert and hilarious. The characters are mysterious and relatable in the same breath.


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  • The tale is long and enjoyable if you appreciate a well-turned phrase. LibraryThing member Stbalbach. I found the grammer stilted and the vocabularly cumbersome yet it still flowed poetically one can predict what will be said in spirit just before it is said, a strange yet magical connection between author and reader across years that trancends words. It is easy to see why this was so popular - sunshine, tropical beaches, naked natives, no work all play - the spirit of the California beach bum surfer can be found in Melville. LibraryThing member crunky. The entertaining prose was the main highlight.

    It was easy to identify with the narrator, not only as an adventurer, but as someone who, while desperately curious about his captors and their intentions, is able to keep an open mind about their customs and lives.

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    LibraryThing member markbstephenson. More a memoir than a novel, but a great read!

    Sometimes hilarious but also has some trenchant critical observations comparing the failings of western civilization with the Typee tribe with whom he lived a short while. LibraryThing member Stevil Despite its slim size, this book never really picks up. Though I think Moby-Dick has its problems, there's no denying that there's some damn riveting material in there. This book has nothing of the sort. How can cannibals be so boring? Answer: they never actually eat anything, though the narrator persists in calling them cannibals.

    Trying to figure out whether this is a deliberate move on Melville's part or a cultural blindspot of his own is about as exciting as this book got. LibraryThing member kristykay I bought this book at a friend's garage sale almost nine years ago, and put off reading it because I expected it would be pretty blatantly racist. And, you know, it is. It's also Melville's first novel published in and the one that sold the best in his lifetime -- allowing him to marry and to dig into the writing of Moby Dick.

    This is the story of Tom and his friend Toby, two men whose adventures are loosely based on Melville and his friend who abandon the whaler they've been working on and hide out on the island Nuku Hiva in Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific.

    They quickly get lost, lose all their food, and are at the mercy of the elements before coming into the valley of the Typee. A first the two sailors are afraid because they heard from other sailors and islanders that the Typee were vicious cannibals, but they are treated well and soon settle in to island life. The conflict comes when they try to leave -- the islanders will not let them go back the way them came or approach the sea, and when Toby finally does convince them to let him greet a ship that has pulled into the bay, he disappears and no one will tell Tom where he went.

    This book is at its best when it skews to the adventure genre -- the first third of the book with Tom and Toby planning their escape, hiking through the wilderness, and searching for food and shelter is great. It's not so good when it gets anthropological. Melville consistently either infantilizes the native people on the island or puts them up on a pedestal of purity because they are untouched by "civilization.

    These racial attitudes are true to Melville's time, but still pretty frustrating to read.

    Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life

    Luckily, Melville is also frequently hilarious, which helps balance out the text. I wouldn't recommend this book to everyone, but I would recommend paragraphs like this one where we see Melville really play around with the English language: "When I remembered that these islanders derived no advantage from dress, but appeared in all the naked simplicity of nature, I could not avoid comparing them with the fine gentlemen and dandies who promenade such unexceptionable figures in our frequented thoroughfares.

    Stripped of the cunning artifices of the tailor, and standing forth in the garb of Eden -- what a sorry set of round-shouldered, spindle-shanked, crane-necked varlets would civilized men appear! Stuffed calves, padded breasts, and scientifically cut pantaloons would then avail them nothing, and the effect would be truly deplorable.

    LibraryThing member Athenable. LibraryThing member MeditationesMartini. Who says Melville can't be fun? This was totally fun.

    Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life
    Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life
    Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life
    Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life
    Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life

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