Bringing together in one volume the essays of a recognized authority on Herman Melville, Melville's Prisoners is both an essential companion and a guide to any reading of the American master's work and a model of literary interpretation that is at once precise, judicious, and inspired. The accumulation of thought-provoking writings is sure to rejuvenate and challenge Melville's long-time readers and those new to the author.
Along with the never before published essay from which the book takes its title, Melville's Prisoners includes "Loomings," widely viewed as the single best piece of criticism ever written on Moby-Dick, and "Unnecessary Duplicates," a classic of textual speculation on Melville's methods. Others offer example after example of a capacious and astonishingly energetic mind at work and at play--a view of how scholarship at its best is done. In sum, this volume constitutes the finest set of scholarly-critical essays ever written on one of America's great writers.