Read Pierre; or The Ambiguities by Herman Melville Free Online
Book Title: Pierre; or The Ambiguities|
The author of the book: Herman Melville
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Reader ratings: 6.9
Edition: Kypros Press
Date of issue: May 18th 2016
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
The size of the: 573 KB
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Format files: PDF
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I like to think of this as the Metal Machine Music of American literature. It's a crazy, baffling, totally alienating renunciation of readers of the 19th-century popular marketplace that mixes filial bile, Gothic satire, philosophical essay, and tantalizing hints of impropriety (threesome!) with some of the most gorgeous prose ever to not make a lick of sense. In other words, if you thought Moby-Dick was a digressive mindbender, this "kraken" as HM called it (the kraken being a sea beast even scarier than the Dick) is way more challenging. So incomprehensible was the narrative that one reviewer's headline declared "Herman Meville Crazy." That's my second favorite succinct review right after a certain somebodylicious on GR said "[Yours Truly:] is Fucked in the Head." (I'm not, just for the record). If I'd been alive back in 1852 my review would have read in its entirely: "Methinks Herman Melville Has Been Smokin Too Much Kraken."
A few slobservations: there's controversy over which edition to read. I bow to Hershel Parker, but I prefer this edition to his, which does away with some of the more digressive allegorizing on authorship. Also, there was an interesting film version of this about 10 years ago called Pola X starring the late Guillame Depardieu. Check it out, but only as an adjunct to the experience of the prose. That the French think this book is better than Moby-Dick is its own endorsement. I also wish some indie band would call itself "Plotinus Plinlimmon" after the batshit philosopher behind "Chronometricals and Horologicals," the treatise on moral relativism that ignites Pierre's rebellion from conventional mores. Plotinus Plinlimmon is at least as good a band name as Duran Duran (or Steely Dan---sorry, Jackie Blue). Finally, the ending---spoiler alert---has always reminded of Lucy and Ethel's famous sitcom performance of Shakespeare. And I say that with a straightface. It's a humdinger that's so over the top you seriously do wonder if the entire book was a hoax. That it wasn't makes for great pathos.
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Herman Melville was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. His first two books gained much attention, though they were not bestsellers, and his popularity declined precipitously only a few years later. By the time of his death he had been almost completely forgotten, but his longest novel, Moby-Dick — largely considered a failure during his lifetime, and most responsible for Melville's fall from favor with the reading public — was rediscovered in the 20th century as one of the chief literary masterpieces of both American and world literature.
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