Pierre : or, The Ambiguities

Herman Melville

Robin Field (Narrator)

05-31-16

19hrs 46min

Abridgement

Unabridged

Genre

Fiction/Classics

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05-31-16

19hrs 46min

Abridgement

Unabridged

Genre

Fiction/Classics

Description

“In one sense a kind of aftershock to Moby-Dick, Pierre also displays Melville’s magnificent artistic restlessness, the ruthless self-revisionism that leads him repeatedly to explode and reinvent the premises he works from. Melville had been the novelist of tropical islands, open oceans, and sailing voyages. But in Pierre he abruptly reinvents himself as a domestic novelist, proposing to write a psychodrama of family intimacy—and more particularly, to chart the emotional dependencies produced in the hyperaffectionate, inward-turning, hothouse family newly prominent in Melville’s time.” New York Times

Pierre Glendinning is the nineteen-year-old heir to the manor at Saddle Meadows in upstate New York. Engaged to the blonde Lucy Tartan in a match approved by his domineering mother, Pierre encounters the dark and mysterious Isabel Banford, who claims to be his half-sister, the illegitimate and orphaned child of his father and a European refugee. Driven by his magnetic attraction to Isabel, Pierre devises a remarkable scheme to preserve his father’s name, spare his mother’s grief, and give Isabel her proper share of the estate.

First published in 1852, Pierre was condemned by critics of the time: “a dead failure,” “this crazy rigmarole,” and “a literary mare’s nest.” Latter-day critics, however, 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.

Praise

“In one sense a kind of aftershock to Moby-Dick, Pierre also displays Melville’s magnificent artistic restlessness, the ruthless self-revisionism that leads him repeatedly to explode and reinvent the premises he works from. Melville had been the novelist of tropical islands, open oceans, and sailing voyages. But in Pierre he abruptly reinvents himself as a domestic novelist, proposing to write a psychodrama of family intimacy—and more particularly, to chart the emotional dependencies produced in the hyperaffectionate, inward-turning, hothouse family newly prominent in Melville’s time.” New York Times

“Herman Melville is one of American literature’s greatest figures.” Cambridge Guide to Literature in English

Details
More Information
Language English
Release Day May 30, 2016
Release Date May 31, 2016
Release Date Machine 1464652800
Imprint Blackstone Publishing
Provider Blackstone Publishing
Categories Classics, Literature & Fiction, Classics, Literature & Fiction, Classics, Evergreen Classics, Evergreen Classics, Literature & Fiction
Author Bio
Herman Melville

Herman Melville (1819–1891) was born in New York City. Family hardships forced him to leave school for various occupations, including shipping as a cabin boy to Liverpool in 1839—a voyage that sparked his love for the sea. A shrewd social critic and philosopher in his fiction, he is considered an outstanding writer of the sea and a great stylist who mastered both realistic narrative and a rich, rhythmical prose. He is best known for his novel Moby-Dick and the posthumously published novella Billy Budd.

Narrator Bio
Robin Field

Robin Field is the AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator of numerous audiobooks, as well as an award-winning actor, singer, writer, and lyricist whose career has spanned six decades. He has starred on and off Broadway, headlined at Carnegie Hall, authored numerous musical reviews, and hosted or performed on a number of television and radio programs over the years.

Overview

Pierre Glendinning is the nineteen-year-old heir to the manor at Saddle Meadows in upstate New York. Engaged to the blonde Lucy Tartan in a match approved by his domineering mother, Pierre encounters the dark and mysterious Isabel Banford, who claims to be his half-sister, the illegitimate and orphaned child of his father and a European refugee. Driven by his magnetic attraction to Isabel, Pierre devises a remarkable scheme to preserve his father’s name, spare his mother’s grief, and give Isabel her proper share of the estate.

First published in 1852, Pierre was condemned by critics of the time: “a dead failure,” “this crazy rigmarole,” and “a literary mare’s nest.” Latter-day critics, however, 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.

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