Pierre, or The Ambiguities

Cloth Text – $120.00

ISBN 978-0-8101-0266-8

Paper Text – $55.00

ISBN 978-0-8101-0267-5
Publication Date
August 1992
Page Count
435 pages
Trim Size
5 1/4 x 8 1/4

Pierre, or The Ambiguities

Volume Seven, Scholarly Edition
Herman Melville

Initially dismissed as "a dead failure" and "a bad book," and declined by Melville's British publisher, Pierre, or The Ambiguities has since struck critics as modern in its psychological probings and literary technique--fit, as Carl Van Vechten said in 1922, to be ranked with The Golden Bowl, Women in Love, and Ulysses. None of Melville's other "secondary" works has so regularly been acknowledged by its most thorough critics as a work of genuine grandeur, however flawed.

This scholarly edition aims to present a text as close to the author's intention as the surviving evidence permits. Based on collations of the two issues and the two impressions of the single edition publishing in Melville's lifetime, it incorporates necessary emendations made by the series editors. This text of Pierre is an Approved Text of the Center for Editions of American Authors (Modern Language Association of America).

About the Author

Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. He is best known for his novel Moby-Dick. His first three books gained much contemporary attention (the first, Typee, becoming a bestseller), and after a fast-blooming literary success in the late 1840s, his popularity declined precipitously in the mid-1850s and never recovered during his lifetime. When he died in 1891, he was almost completely forgotten. It was not until the "Melville Revival" in the early 20th century that his work won recognition, especially Moby-Dick, which was hailed as one of the literary masterpieces of both American and world literature. He was the first writer to have his works collected and published by the Library of America.


"Pierre is a crucial volume in the Melville canon that continues to open new vistas toward an understanding not only of the author himself, but also of his family, his associates, and more broadly, the cosmopolitan culture of New York at mid-century." —Sanford E. Marovitz, The Melville Society