Thursday, September 30, 2010

What to do with the 252 Social/Rental Housing Units at Olympic Village

The following are notes that I posted on Frances Bula's blog ( in response to the news that the Province has rejected all of the proposals to manage the social housing and market housing units at the Olympic Village, and the City wants to go it alone...which appears to mean it will be guaranteeing another loan which it was hoping the Province would guarantee:

I hate to keep dwelling on this, but I think the city will make a bad situation worse by ignoring the messages coming from the province and trying to ‘go it alone’ with the Portland Hotel Society.

I would like to make it clear that I am not normally opposed to mixing market and non-market housing. As the federal government’s Special Coordinator for the Phase One redevelopment of the South Shore of False Creek, I helped the city achieve its one third low income, one third mid income and one third higher income social mix. As Program Manager-Social Housing for CMHC I oversaw the development of thousands of social housing units, many of which were integrated with market developments. As the President of the SFU Community Trust I helped create a social mix by including both housing for students in smaller ‘suites within suites’ and non-market faculty and staff housing at UniverCity.

However, in this particular situation, I think the time has come for the city to admit that it might be better to accommodate lower income households on the immediately adjacent City-owned sites , and allow some or all of these 126 social housing units and 126 market rental units to be sold as more affordable ownership units.

Priority could be given to those seeking ‘workforce’ housing in the city including firefighters, police officers, school teachers, etc. To differentiate this housing from the market condominiums, the land could be leased, rather than sold.

Over time, as the city’s financial position improves, some units could be bought back and used social housing, if so desired.

I reiterate this suggestion since it would help the city recoup its costs, and maybe even make a small profit, rather than incur over $60 million in subsidies, some of which are being used to subsidize high income people to move into the market units.

According to the staff report that was considered by council last April, the city could make up to $60 million+ by selling the units. That’s a $120 million+ swing between renting and selling.

City staff feared that selling these units would negatively impact the sale of the market units. I would suggest the opposite is true. If the Portland Hotel Society, (which I understand to be the preferred bidder, and which has an admirable track record dealing with the hard-to-house in the DTES) is the selected operator, many potential buyers of the condominium units could be deterred from buying. We are starting to hear this message from many real estate experts and urban commentators. In other words, this type of social housing could reduce the value of the market units.

Another reason why I am so concerned in this instance is that mixing the very rich with the very poor usually does not create a good community. This is very hard to do successfully. I would note that former city alderman Libby Davies (whose judgment and compassion I have often admired) and housing advocate Jim Green supported this view when consideration was being given to housing the very rich and very poor together at Bayshore in Coal Harbour. In the end, politicians from all political parties agreed that a ‘payment in lieu’ was a preferable approach for some of the units, and the Performing Arts Lodge was approved for the balance. This ended up as an award winning solution.

Another reason for selling the units would be to reduce the city’s potential losses on this development. I do not pretend to know all the numbers, but I do know that the city was counting on getting the balance of the $193 million land payment to pay for the cost of the extensive infrastructure and community amenities. While we don’t talk about it, I have been advised by city staff that most, if not all of the city works have gone over budget. The land payment from Millennium was to cover these costs. Now it appears this payment may not be made.

In addition, the city has lent Millennium the money to complete the project. I am advised that the city is not likely to get all of this loan repaid from the proceeds of the sales. The only question is how much are we going to lose. By selling the social housing and market rental units the city to could help reduce potential losses.

(If it is politically impossible for this council to sell the social housing units, then at least sell the rental units. Why should we as taxpayers be subsidizing people to live in them? And we are, since the proposed rents, even at $1600 a month and more, are not sufficient to cover the costs and a nominal return on equity.)

Furthermore, Millennium is having some difficulty renting its 129 market rental units. That’s right. Millennium has rental units that are only 35% leased to date. And the city still hasn’t rented all of its units at 1 Kingsway after 9 months. Why bring more market rental units to market, especially when no one appears to want to manage them.

Some will say that my comments should be ignored since they are just politically motivated. They are not. Rather they are based on four decades experience in the development of market and non-market housing across Canada. They are based on what I think is common sense, rather than political ideology. As I said on the Bill Good Show, I think this Vision Council is often well intentioned, and it has accomplished many good things. But it has made a number of mistakes, and continuing to try and keep these expensive and inappropriately designed units as social housing and market rental housing could be a very damaging and costly mistake.

I therefore urge the City administration and Council to not ‘go it alone’. Please reconsider your April decision in light of the current situation. And if someone tells you that you can’t go back on a pledge you made five years ago to the International Olympic Committee, tell them that the situation has changed. There are some urgent housing needs in the city, and this is the most prudent course of action. I am confident that they will understand.

In summary, in time the Olympic Village will be a wonderful community. But it needs some wise decisions over the coming months, to help this to happen. Let’s start by reconsidering the future of these units.

Top Most Dangerous Dogs in the World

22 reported dog bite related human fatalities in the United States in 2004, 2007 - 29 human fatalities, 2008 - 26. In 2009, there were 33 human fatalities. 45% of the attacks occurred to adults over the age of 18, and 55% occurred to ages below. Pit bull type dogs were responsible for 67% of fatalities, the next closest breed was the rottweiler at 12%. But all dog breeds are potentially dangerous. In 2000, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 25 breeds of dogs were involved in 238 fatal dog bites from 1979-1998. Here it is the compiled list of the most dangerous dog breeds.

10. Dalmatian (Weight: 40-70 lbs.)
This breed is distinguished by intelligence and perfect memory, independence and survival instincts. Sometimes Dalmatians can be aggressive towards people.

9. Boxer (Weight: 50-70 lbs.)
These dogs are intelligent, frisky and full of energy. It is not so easy to train them as they are self-willed breed. In addition, boxers are not typically aggressive by nature.

8. Presa Canario ( Weight: 80-115 lbs.)
It is well known that an attack of this guard dog can bring to the death any prey. One of the main features of this dog is fearlessness, huge power and man-stopping ability. 

6. Doberman Pinschers (Weight: 65-90 lbs.)
Doberman Pinschers are famed by such features as alertness, intelligence and loyalty. Therefore they are considered to be one of the best guard dog breeds. The dog usually attacks only in case its family is in danger or when being provoked.

7. Chow Chow (Weight: 50-70 lbs.)
The Chow Chow seems to be distant and independent, however they require staunch attention. If badly bred they can become aggressive dogs.

5. Alaskan Malamutes (Weight: 75-100 lbs.)
This breed requires a lot of exercises to be happy as being bored they become disobedient. On the whole their characteristic features are energy and activity.

4. Huskies (Weight: 44-66 lbs.)
Despite of their energy and intelligence this breed is not regarded a good guard dog. It is caused by its kind temperament and personality characteristics. However it should be marked that between 1979 and 1997 fifteen fatal cases were caused by huskies.

3. German Shepherds (Weight: 70-100 lbs.)
This breed of dogs is known as a smart and vigilant one. As German Shepherds proved to be confident and fearless local authorities such as the police K-9 unit use German Shepherds as a police dog.

2. Rottweilers (Weight: 100-130 lbs.)
Due to their intense territorial instinct these dogs are very aggressive. Rottweilers are commonly used as guard dogs.

1. Pit Bulls (Weight: 55-65 lbs.)
Pit bull is one of the most brave and dauntless dogs that usually takes on any opponent. Therefore they take part in dog fighting. It is common knowledge that this dog breed can even mangle the human to death as pit bull locks its jaws onto the booty until it is dead.
- For each US dog bite fatality there are about 670 hospitalizations and 16,000 emergency room visits, 21,000 other medical visits (office and clinic), and 187,000 non-medically treated bites 

- 46.1% (nearly half) of dog bite injuries were triaged in emergency rooms as "urgent-emergent" 

- Dog bites are the second highest reason why children seek emergency treatment.That's about 60,000 bites per fatality and that information is dated. It is reported today that a US citizen is bitten by a dog every 75 seconds.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

10 Hi Tech Faucets - Splash of Luxury to Your Kitchen

A new breed of electronic faucets is being shaped by various designers all over. Faucets today have gone far in terms of designing style, and functionality. Shining a new light on modern technology and contemporary design, here we have come up with some really trendy faucets by ingenious designers around the globe. Check out these ultra high-tech faucets and choose one to add a splash of luxury to your kitchen with the newest trend! So, with the sink just begging for a new faucet, the installation of any one of these high tech faucets will sprinkle the magic! Believe me, each one is the ultimate tech toy for those who love luxury!

sunrise faucet_ndorj_1822

x touch mixer faucet   
X-Touch Mixer Faucet from Newform Italy.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Beautiful Paper Sculpturing Artwork - Origami Paper Art

We’ve previously showcased some really cool paper sculpturing artwork; today we are going to show you another type of paper-related artwork. It is something we are all familiar with – Origami. Origami is an art of paper folding, and paper cranes are probably what we’ll thought of when it comes to origami.
Shumakov Origami Kitten
Origami originates from Japan, and in Japanese, Ori means paper, and kami(gami) means folding. There are various types of Origami, respectively action, modular, wet-folding and pureland. Today, we are going to show you some of the best examples of these paper made wonders.
Here’s a showcase of 70 beautiful and creative origami created by fans all over the world. Full list after jump.
Grulla. Designed by Roman Diaz and Daniel Naranjo. Folded from 37*37cm MC treated tissue. (via Kekremsi)
grulla 70 Beautiful Examples of Origami Paper Art
Origami Jedi. Folded by Phillip West from a single uncut square. Modified from Satoshi Kamiya’s Wizard. (via PhillipWest)
origami jedi
Origami Tarantula. A really impressive model designed by Robert Lang, folded from a square of a tissue-foil paper. (via Rodrigo Zen)
Origami Tarantula
Divine Dragon. Masterpieces of origami dragons, famous Bahamut – Divine Dragon by Satoshi Kamiya. Folded by Brian Chan. (via Chosetec)
Origami Dragon
Yoda Origami. Designed by Fumiaki Kawahata. Folded by Phillip West from Lokta sandpaper paper back coated to tissue paper. (via PhillipWest)
Yoda Origami
Ancient Dragon. Designed by Satoshi Kamiya. Wet folded from mulberry tissue 136×136cm. (via Mabona Origami)
Ancient Dragon
Life Size Onitsuka Tiger. Created for Asics lounge in Berlin. This huge origami sculpture dimensions are: 270×110x60cm. (via Mabona Origami)
Life size Onitsuka Tiger
Praying Mantis (female). Designed and folded by Sipho Mabona. Wet folded form one uncut square of shikibu kizukishki kozo (handmade) colored with calligraphic ink. (via Mabona Origami)
Praying Mantis female
Gryphon. Interesting and complex example of gryphon origami. Folded from two types of paper, which makes this a very furnace origami. (via Guspath)
Werewolf. Another great example of origami by Guspath. Folded from 50cm square golden foil paper. (via Guspath)
Little Bird. Sweet yellow bird. Designed by Kamiya Satoshi, folded by Sin cynic. (via Sin cynic)
Little Bird
Dedalus. Red statue of Daedalus. Designed and folded by Origamirizzo. (via Origamirizzo)
Mammoth. This model was folded from diagrams. Designed by Satoshi Kamiya. (via Finwych)
Ringed Tailed Lemur. Folded from MC treated black tissue. Designed and folded by Origami Roman. (via Origami Roman)
Ringed Tailed Lemur
Vampire Bat. Vampire bat by Dao Cuong Quyet. Folded from 60cm square paper. (via Baldorigami)
Vampire bat
Phoenix. Phoenix origami at the exhibition in Toronto Airport. Created by Chow Hin Chung, folded by Alex Yue (via Sftrajan)
Fox . Folded from CP in tanteidan magazine 119. (via KingOri)
Chimpance. Designed and folded by Tanaka Masashi, folded from CP. (via Alexori)
Water Buffalo. Designed by Nguyen Hung Cuong, folded by Sin cynic. (via Sin cynic)
Water Buffalo
Minotaur. Designed by Satoshi Kamiya, folded by Imperfekshun from 64×64 cm tissue foil. (via Imperfekshun)
Whale. Designed by Satoshi Kamiya, folded by Eric Madrigal from brown 40×40 cm paper with acrylic paints. (via Eric Madrigal)
Hermit Crab Origami. Folded by Brian Chan from a square of laminated Japanese mulberry paper. (via Chosetec)
Hermit crab origami
Owl. Designed by Katsuta Kyohei. Origami size is 50×50 cm. (via Vetal Origami)
Reindeer. Designed by Katsuta Kyohei. Folded from brown paper. (via Vetal Origami)

Poe's Ocean Adventure

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838) is the only complete novel written by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. The work relates the tale of the young Arthur Gordon Pym who stows away aboard a whaling ship called Grampus. Various adventures and misadventures befall Pym including shipwreck, mutiny, and cannibalism before he is saved by the crew of the Jane Guy. Aboard this vessel, Pym and a sailor named Dirk Peters continue their adventures further south. Docking on land, they encounter hostile black-skinned natives before escaping back to the ocean. The novel ends abruptly as Pym and Peters continue towards the South Pole.

The story starts out as a fairly conventional adventure at sea, but it becomes increasingly strange and hard to classify. Poe, who intended to present a realistic story, was inspired by several real-life accounts of sea voyages, and drew heavily from Jeremiah N. Reynolds and referenced the Hollow Earth theory. He also drew from his own experiences at sea. Analyses of the novel often focus on the potential autobiographical elements as well as hints of racism and the symbolism in the final lines of the work.

Difficulty in finding literary success early in his short story-writing career inspired Poe to pursue writing a longer work. A few serialized installments of The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket were first published in the Southern Literary Messenger, though never completed. The full novel was not published until July 1838 in two volumes. Contemporary critics responded negatively to the work for being too gruesome and for cribbing heavily from other works. Poe himself later called it "a very silly book." Nevertheless, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket became an influential work, notably for Herman Melville and Jules Verne.

Deathday: Herman Melville - Author & Poet

Herman Melville (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet, whose work is often classified as part of the genre of dark romanticism. He is best known for his novel Moby-Dick and the posthumous novella Billy Budd.

His first three books gained much attention, the first becoming a bestseller, but 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.


Early life, education, and family

Herman Melville was born in New York City on August 1, 1819,[1] the third child of Allan and Maria Gansevoort Melvill. After her husband Allan died, Maria added an "e" to the family surname.[2] Part of a well-established and colorful Boston family, Melville's father spent a good deal of time abroad as a commission merchant and an importer of French dry goods. The author's paternal grandfather, Major Thomas Melvill, an honored survivor of the Boston Tea Party who refused to change the style of his clothing or manners to fit the times, was depicted in Oliver Wendell Holmes's poem "The Last Leaf". Herman visited him in Boston, and his father turned to him in his frequent times of financial need. The maternal side of Melville's family was Hudson Valley Dutch. His maternal grandfather was General Peter Gansevoort, a hero of the Battle of Saratoga; in his gold-laced uniform, the general sat for a portrait painted by Gilbert Stuart, which is described in Melville's 1852 novel, Pierre, for Melville wrote out of his familial as well as his nautical background. Like the titular character in Pierre, Melville found satisfaction in his "double revolutionary descent."[3]

Allan Melvill sent his sons to the New York Male School (Columbia Preparatory School). Overextended financially and emotionally unstable, Allan tried to recover from his setbacks by moving his family to Albany in 1830 and going into the fur business. The new venture, however, was unsuccessful; the War of 1812 had ruined businesses that tried to sell overseas and he was forced to declare bankruptcy. He died soon afterward, leaving his family penniless, when Herman was 12.[4] Although Maria had well-off kin, they were concerned with protecting their own inheritances and taking advantage of investment opportunities rather than settling their mother's estate so Maria's family would be more secure. Herman's younger brother, Thomas Melville, eventually became a governor of Sailors Snug Harbor.

Melville attended the Albany Academy from October 1830 to October 1831, and again from October 1836 to March 1837, where he studied the classics.[5]

Early working life

Historical marker at the site of the family home in Albany, NY.Melville's roving disposition and a desire to support himself independently of family assistance led him to seek work as a surveyor on the Erie Canal. This effort failed, and his brother helped him get a job as a cabin boy on a New York ship bound for Liverpool. He made the voyage, and returned on the same ship. Redburn: His First Voyage (1849) is partly based on his experiences of this journey.

The three years after Albany Academy (1837 to 1840) were mostly occupied with teaching school, except for the voyage to Liverpool in 1839. Near the end of 1840 he once again decided to sign ship's articles. On January 3, 1841, he sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts on the whaler Acushnet,[6] which was bound for the Pacific Ocean. He was later to comment that his life began that day. The vessel sailed around Cape Horn and traveled to the South Pacific. Melville left little direct information about the events of this 18-month cruise, although his whaling romance, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, probably gives many pictures of life on board the Acushnet. Melville deserted the Acushnet in the Marquesas Islands in July 1842.[6] For three weeks he lived among the Typee natives, who were called cannibals by the two other tribal groups on the island—though they treated Melville very well. Typee, Melville's first novel, describes a brief love affair with a beautiful native girl, Fayaway, who generally "wore the garb of Eden" and came to epitomize the guileless noble savage in the popular imagination.

Melville did not seem to be concerned about repercussions from his desertion from the Acushnet. He boarded another whaler bound for Hawaii and left that ship in Honolulu. While in Honolulu, he became a controversial figure for his vehement opposition to the activities of Christian missionaries seeking to convert the native population. After working as a clerk for four months, he joined the crew of the frigate USS United States, which reached Boston in October 1844. These experiences were described in Typee, Omoo, and White-Jacket, which were published as novels mainly because few believed their veracity.

Melville completed Typee in the summer of 1845, though he had difficulty getting it published.[7] It was eventually published in 1846 in London, where it became an overnight bestseller. The Boston publisher subsequently accepted Omoo sight unseen. Typee and Omoo gave Melville overnight notoriety as a writer and adventurer, and he often entertained by telling stories to his admirers. As writer and editor Nathaniel Parker Willis wrote, "With his cigar and his Spanish eyes, he talks Typee and Omoo, just as you find the flow of his delightful mind on paper".[7] The novels, however, did not generate enough royalties for him to live on. Omoo was not as colorful as Typee, and readers began to realize Melville was not just producing adventure stories. Redburn and White-Jacket had no problem finding publishers. Mardi was a disappointment for readers who wanted another rollicking and exotic sea yarn.

Marriage and later working life

Elizabeth Shaw MelvilleMelville married Elizabeth Shaw, daughter of chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Lemuel Shaw, on August 4, 1847; the couple honeymooned in Canada.[8] They had four children: two sons and two daughters. In 1850 they purchased Arrowhead, a farm house in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, now a museum. Here Melville lived for 13 years, occupied with his writing and managing his farm. While living at Arrowhead, he befriended the author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, who lived in nearby Lenox. Melville, an intellectual loner for most of his life, was tremendously inspired and encouraged by his new relationship with Hawthorne[9] during the period that he was writing Moby-Dick (dedicating it to Hawthorne[10]), though their friendship was on the wane only a short time later, when he wrote Pierre there.

However, these works did not achieve the popular and critical success of his earlier books. Indeed, The New York Day Book on September 8, 1852, published a venomous attack on Melville and his writings headlined HERMAN MELVILLE CRAZY. The item, offered as a news story, reported, "A critical friend, who read Melville's last book, 'Ambiguities," between two steamboat accidents, told us that it appeared to be composed of the ravings and reveries of a madman. We were somewhat startled at the remark, but still more at learning, a few days after, that Melville was really supposed to be deranged, and that his friends were taking measures to place him under treatment. We hope one of the earliest precautions will be to keep him stringently secluded from pen and ink."[11] Following this and other scathing reviews of Pierre by critics, publishers became wary of Melville's work. His publisher, Harper and Brothers, rejected his next manuscript, Isle of the Cross which has been lost. On April 1, 1857, Melville published his last full-length novel, The Confidence-Man. This novel, subtitled "His Masquerade," has won general acclaim in modern times as a complex and mysterious exploration of issues of fraud and honesty, identity and masquerade, but when it was published, it received reviews ranging from the bewildered to the denunciatory.[12]

To repair his faltering finances, Melville listened to the advice of friends and decided to enter what was for others the lucrative field of lecturing. From 1857 to 1860, he spoke at lyceums, chiefly on the South Seas. Turning to poetry, he gathered a collection of verse that failed to interest a publisher. In 1863, he and his wife resettled, with their four children, in New York City. After the end of the American Civil War, he published Battle Pieces and Aspects of the War, (1866) a collection of over 70 poems that generally was ignored by the critics, though a few gave him patronizingly favorable reviews. In 1866, Melville's wife and her relatives used their influence to obtain a position for him as customs inspector for the City of New York (a humble but adequately paying appointment), and he held the post for 19 years. In a notoriously corrupt institution, Melville soon won the reputation of being the only honest employee of the customs house. (The customs house was coincidentally on Gansevoort St., named after his mother's prosperous family.) But from 1866, his professional writing career can be said to have come to an end.

Melville spent years writing a 16,000-line epic poem, Clarel, inspired by his earlier trip to the Holy Land. His uncle, Peter Gansevoort, by a bequest, paid for the publication of the massive epic in 1876. But the publication failed miserably, and the unsold copies were burned when Melville was unable to afford to buy them at cost.

As his professional fortunes waned, Melville's marriage was unhappy, plagued by rumors of his alcoholism and insanity and allegations that he inflicted physical abuse on his wife. Her relatives repeatedly urged her to leave him, and offered to have him committed as insane, but she refused. In 1867, his oldest son, Malcolm, shot himself, perhaps accidentally. While Melville worked, his wife managed to wean him off alcohol, and he no longer showed signs of agitation or insanity. But recurring depression was added to by the death of his second son, Stanwix, in San Francisco early in 1886. Melville retired in 1886, after several of his wife's relatives died and left the couple legacies that Mrs. Melville administered with skill and good fortune.

As English readers, pursuing the vogue for sea stories represented by such writers as G. A. Henty, rediscovered Melville's novels, he experienced a modest revival of popularity in England, though not in the United States. Once more he took up his pen, writing a series of poems with prose head notes inspired by his early experiences at sea. He published them in two collections, each issued in a tiny edition of 25 copies for his relatives and friends: John Marr (1888) and Timoleon (1891).

One of these poems further intrigued him, and he began to rework the headnote to turn it into first a short story and then a novella. He worked on it on and off for several years, but when he died in September 1891, he left the piece unfinished, and not until the literary scholar Raymond Weaver published it in 1924 did the book – which is now known as Billy Budd, Sailor – come to light.

Melville died at his home in New York City early on the morning of September 28, 1891, age 72. The doctor listed "cardiac dilation" on the death certificate.[13] He was interred in the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York. A common story says that his New York Times obituary called him "Henry Melville",[13] implying that he was unknown and unappreciated at his time of death, but the story isn't true.[14]

Melville's Grave
photo by anthony22 at wiki

From about age 33, Melville ceased to be popular with a broad audience because of his increasingly philosophical, political, and experimental tendencies. His novella Billy Budd, Sailor, unpublished at the time of his death, was published in 1924. Later it was turned into an opera by Benjamin Britten, a play, and a film by Peter Ustinov.

In Herman Melville's Religious Journey, Walter Donald Kring detailed his discovery of letters indicating that Melville had been a member of the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City. Until this revelation, little had been known of his religious affiliation. Hershel Parker in the second volume of his biography makes it clear that Melville became a nominal member only to placate his wife. Melville despised Unitarianism and its associated "ism," Utilitarianism. (The great English Unitarians were Utilitarians.) See the 2006 Norton Critical Edition of The Confidence-Man for more detail on Melville and religion than in Parker's 2002 volume.

Publications and contemporary reactions

Most of Melville's novels were published first in the United Kingdom and then in the U.S. Sometimes the editions contain substantial differences; at other times different printings were either bowdlerized or restored to their pre-bowdlerized state.

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale has become Melville's most famous work and is often considered one of the greatest literary works of all time. It was dedicated to Melville's friend Nathaniel Hawthorne.[10] It did not, however, make Melville rich. The book never sold its initial printing of 3,000 copies in his lifetime, and total earnings from the American edition amounted to just $556.37 from his publisher, Harper Brothers. Melville also wrote Billy Budd, White-Jacket, Israel Potter,Redburn, Typee, Omoo, Pierre, The Confidence-Man and many short stories, including "Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street" and "Benito Cereno," and works of various genres.

Melville is less well known as a poet and did not publish poetry until later in life. After the Civil War, he published Battle Pieces and Aspects of the War, which did not sell well; of the Harper and Bros. printing of 1200 copies, only 525 had been sold ten years later.[15] Again tending to outrun the tastes of his readers, Melville's epic length verse-narrative Clarel, about a student's pilgrimage to the Holy Land, was also quite obscure, even in his own time. Among the longest single poems in American literature, Clarel, published in 1876, had an initial printing of only 350 copies. The critic Lewis Mumford found a copy of the poem in the New York Public Library in 1925 "with its pages uncut"—in other words, it had sat there unread for 50 years.[16]

His poetry is not as highly critically esteemed as his fiction, although some critics place him as the first modernist poet in the United States; others would assert that his work more strongly suggest what today would be a postmodern view. A leading champion of Melville's claims as a great American poet was the poet and novelist Robert Penn Warren, who issued a selection of Melville's poetry prefaced by an admiring and acute critical essay.

Critical response

Contemporary criticism

Melville was not financially successful as a writer, having earned just over $10,000 for his writing during his lifetime.[17] After the success of travelogues based on voyages to the South Seas and stories based on misadventures in the merchant marine and navy, Melville's popularity declined dramatically. By 1876, all of his books were out of print.[18] In the later years of his life and during the years after his death he was recognized, if at all, as only a minor figure in American literature.

Melville revival

A confluence of publishing events in the 1920s brought about a reassessment now commonly called "the Melville Revival". The two books generally considered most important to the Revival were both brought forth by Raymond Weaver: his 1921 biography Herman Melville: Man, Mariner and Mystic and his 1924 version of Melville's last great but never quite finished or properly organized work, Billy Budd, which Melville's granddaughter gave to Weaver when he visited her for research on the biography. The other works that helped fan the Revival flames were Carl Van Doren's The American Novel (1921), D. H. Lawrence's Studies in Classic American Literature (1923), and Lewis Mumford's biography, Herman Melville: A Study of His Life and Vision (1929). In 1945, the Melville Society was formed as a nonprofit organization dedicated to celebrating Melville’s literary legacy.[19] In 1951, Newton Arvin published the critical biography Herman Melville, which won the nonfiction National Book Award.[20]

In the 1960s, Northwestern University Press, in alliance with the Newberry Library and the Modern Language Association, established ongoing publication runs of Melville's various titles.[21] This alliance sought to create a "definitive" edition of Melville's works. Titles republished under the Northwestern-Newberry Library include Typee, Piazza Tales and Other Prose Pieces, Omoo, Israel Potter, Pierre or the Ambiguities, Confidence-Man, White Jacket or the World in a Man-of-War, Moby Dick, Mardi and a Voyage Thither, Redburn, Clarel , as well as several volumes of Melville's poems, journals, and correspondence.

Themes of gender and sexuality

Although not the primary focus of Melville scholarship, there has been an emerging interest in the role of gender and sexuality in some of Melville's writings.[22][23][24] Some critics, particularly those interested in gender studies, have explored the existence of male-dominant social structures in Melville's fiction.[25] For example, Alvin Sandberg claimed that "The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids" offers "an exploration of impotency, a portrayal of a man retreating to an all-male childhood to avoid confrontation with sexual manhood" from which the narrator engages in "congenial" digressions in heterogeneity.[26] In line with this view Warren Rosenberg argues the homosocial "Paradise of Bachelors" is shown to be "superficial and sterile."[24] David Harley Serlin observes in the second half of Melville's diptych, "The Tartarus of Maids," the narrator gives voice to the oppressed women he observes: "As other scholars have noted, the "slave" image here has two clear connotations. One describes the exploitation of the women's physical labor, and the other describes the exploitation of the women's reproductive organs. Of course, as models of women's oppression, the two are clearly intertwined."[27] In the end the narrator is never fully able to come to terms with the contrasting masculine and feminine modalities. Issues of sexuality have been observed in other works as well. Rosenberg notes Taji, in "Mardi", and the protagonist in "Pierre" "think they are saving young "maidens in distress" (Yillah and Isabel) out of the purest of reasons but both are also conscious of a lurking sexual motive."[24] When Taji kills the old priest holding Yillah captive, he states "remorse smote me hard; and like lightning I asked myself whether the death deed I had done was sprung of virtuous motive, the rescuing of a captive from thrall, or whether beneath the pretense I had engaged in this fatal affray for some other selfish purpose, the companionship of a beautiful maid."[28] In "Pierre" the motive for his self-sacrifice for Isabel is admitted: "womanly beauty and not womanly ugliness invited him to champion the right."[29] Rosenberg argues "This awareness of a double motive haunts both books and ultimately destroys their protagonists who would not fully acknowledge the dark underside of their idealism. The epistemological quest and the transcendental quest for love and belief are consequently sullied by the erotic."[24]

Melville fully explores the theme of sexuality in his major poetical work "Clarel." When the narrator is separated from Ruth, with whom he has fallen in love, he is free to explore other sexual (and religious) possibilities before deciding at the end of the poem to participate in the ritualistic order marriage represents. In the course of the poem "he considers every form of sexual orientation - celibacy, homosexuality, hedonism, and heterosexuality - raising the same kinds of questions as when he considers Islam or Democracy."[24]

Some passages and sections of Melville's works are either plainly homoerotic, or can be readily interpreted as such. Commonly given examples from Moby Dick are the interpretation of male bonding from what is termed the "marriage bed" episode involving Ishmael and Queequeg, and the "Squeeze of the Hand" chapter describing the camaraderie of sailors extracting spermaceti from a dead whale.[30] Billy Budd's physical attractiveness is described in quasi-feminine terms: "As the Handsome Sailor, Billy Budd's position aboard the seventy-four was something analogous to that of a rustic beauty transplanted from the provinces and brought into competition with the highborn dames of the court." Though these elements (and others) suggest Melville was sexually interested in men, there is no biographical evidence that Melville ever engaged in sexual relations with men.[25] Some critics argue that "Ahab's pursuit of the whale, which can be associated with the feminine in its shape, mystery, and in its naturalness, represents the ultimate fusion of the epistemological and sexual quest."[24]

Law and literature

In recent years, Billy Budd has become a central text in the field of legal scholarship known as law and literature. In the novel, Billy, a handsome and popular young sailor impressed from the merchant vessel Rights of Man to serve aboard H.M.S. Bellipotent in the late 1790s, during the war between Revolutionary France and Great Britain and her monarchic allies, excites the enmity and hatred of the ship's master-at-arms, John Claggart. Claggart devises phony charges of mutiny and other crimes to level against Billy, and Captain the Honorable Edward Fairfax Vere institutes an informal inquiry, at which Billy convulsively strikes Claggart because his stammer prevents him from speaking. Vere immediately convenes a drumhead court-martial, at which, after serving as sole witness and as Billy's de facto counsel, Vere then urges the court to convict and sentence Billy to death. The trial is recounted in chapter 21, the longest chapter in the book, and that trial has become the focus of scholarly controversy: was Captain Vere a good man trapped by bad law, or did he deliberately distort and misrepresent the applicable law to condemn Billy to death? [31]


In 2010 it was announced that a new species of extinct giant sperm whale, Leviathan melvillei was named in honor of Melville. The paleontologists who discovered the fossil are all fans of Moby-Dick and wanted to dedicate their discovery to Melville.[32][33]


References and further reading

Adler, Joyce (1981). War in Melville's Imagination. New York: New York University Press. ISBN 0814705758.
Arvin, Newton (2002). Herman Melville. New York: Grove Press. ISBN 0802138713.
Bryant, John (1986). A Companion to Melville Studies. Westport: Greenwood Press. ISBN 031323874X.
Bryant, John (1993). Melville and Repose: The Rhetoric of Humor in the American Renaissance. Oxford Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195077822.
Chamberlain, Ray (1985). Monsieur Melville. City: Coach House Pr. ISBN 0889102392.
Delbanco, Andrew (2005). Melville, His World and Work. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0375403140.
Edinger, Edward (1985). Melville's Moby Dick: An American Nekyia (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysts). New Haven: Inner City Books. ISBN 978-0919123700.
Garner, Stanton (1993). The Civil War World of Herman Melville. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 0700606025.
Goldner, Loren (2006). Herman Melville: Between Charlemagne and the Antemosaic Cosmic Man. Race, Class and the Crisis of Bourgeois Ideology in an American Renaissance Writer. Cambridge: Queequeg Publications. ISBN 0970030827.
Gretchko, John M. J. (1990). Melvillean Ambiguities. Cleveland: Falk & Bright.
Hardwick, Elizabeth (2000). Herman Melville. New York: Viking. ISBN 0670891584.
Hayford, Harrison (2003). Melville's Prisoners. Evanston: Northwestern University Press. ISBN 0810119730.
Levine, Robert (1998). The Cambridge Companion to Herman Melville. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 052155571X.
Martin, Robert (1986). Hero, Captain, and Stranger: Male Friendship, Social Critique, and Literary Form in the Sea Novels of Herman Melville. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0807816728.
Miller, Perry (1956). The Raven and the Whale: The War of Words and Wits in the Era of Poe and Melville. New York: Harvest Book.
Parker, Hershel (1996). Herman Melville: A Biography. Volume I, 1819–1851. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0801854288.
Parker, Hershel (2005). Herman Melville: A Biography. Volume II, 1851–1891. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0801881862.
Renker, Elizabeth (1998). Strike through the Mask: Herman Melville and the Scene of Writing. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0801858755.
Robertson-Lorant, Laurie (1996). Melville: A Biography. New York: Clarkson Potter/Publishers. ISBN 0517593149.
Rogin, Michael (1983). Subversive Genealogy: The Politics and Art of Herman Melville. New York: Knopf. ISBN 039450609X.
Rosenberg, Warren (1984). "'Deeper than Sappho': Melville, Poetry, and the Erotic". Modern Language Studies 14 (1).
Spark, Clare L. (2001). Hunting Captain Ahab: Psychological Warfare and the Melville Revival (rev.ed. paperback 2006 ed.). Kent: Kent State University Press. ISBN 0873388887.
Sullivan, Wilson (1972). New England Men of Letters.. New York: Atheneum. ISBN 0027886808.
Weisberg, Richard (1984). The Failure of the Word: The Lawyer as Protagonist in Modern Fiction. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0300045921.


1.^ Parker, Vol. 1, 23
2.^ Levine, Robert Steven (1998). The Cambridge companion to Herman Melville. Cambridge University Press. pp. xv. ISBN 0-521-55477-2.
3.^ Parker, Vol. I, 12
4.^ Sullivan, 117
5.^ David K. Titus, "Herman Melville at the Albany Academy", Melville Society Extracts, May 2003, no. 42, pp. 1, 4-10. Accessed August 4, 2008.
6.^ Miller, 5
7.^ Delbanco, 66
8.^ Delbanco, 91–92
9.^ In the essay Melville published on Hawthorne's 'Mosses' in the Literary Review of August 1850 he wrote: "To what infinite height of loving wonder and admiration I may yet be borne, when by repeatedly banquetting on these Mosses, I shall have thoroughly incorporated their whole stuff into my being,--that, I can not tell. But already I feel that this Hawthorne has dropped germinous seeds into my soul. He expands and deepens down, the more I contemplate him; and further, and further, shoots his strong New-England roots into the hot soil of my Southern soul."
10.^ Cheevers, Susan (2006). American Bloomsbury: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau; Their Lives, Their Loves, Their Work. Detroit: Thorndike Press. Large print edition. p. 196. ISBN 078629521X.
11.^ Parker, Vol. I, 131–132
12.^ See generally the collection of reviews of Melville's works edited by Watson G. Branch, Herman Melville: The Critical Heritage (London and New York: Routledge, 1997) (the reviews of The Confidence-Man appear in a section beginning at 369.)
13.^ Delbanco, 319
14.^ "Obituary". The New York Times (New York: The New York Times). 29 September 1891. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
15.^ Collected Poems of Herman Melville, Ed. Howard P. Vincent. Chicago: Packard & Company and Hendricks House (1947), 446.
16.^ p. 287, Andrew Delbanco (2005), Melville: His World and Work. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0375403140
17.^ Delbanco, 7
18.^ Delbanco, 294
19.^ Clare L. Spark (2006). Hunting Captain Ahab: Psychological Warfare and the Melville Revival. Kent State University Press. p. 352. ISBN 031332140X.
20.^ Newton Arvin
21.^ About Northwestern University PressSearch at NU Press website
22.^ Serlin, David Harley. "The Dialogue of Gender in Melville's The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids". These two writings are separate but often read together for the full effect of Melville's purpose. In both these works many phallic symbols are represented (such as the swords and snuff powder which represented a lack of semen in the bachelors.) Not only this, but in the Tartarus of Maids there was a detailed description of how the main character arrived at the Tartarus of Maids. This description was intended to resemble that of the vaginal canal. Modern Language Studies 25.2 (1995): 80-87
23.^ James Creech, Closet writing: The case of Melville's Pierre, 1993
24.^ Rosenberg, 70-78
25.^ Delblanco, Andrew. American Literary History 1992.
26.^ Sandberg, Alvin. "Erotic Patterns in 'The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids.' " Literature and Psychology 18.1 (1968): 2-8.
27.^ Serlin, David Harley. "The Dialogue of Gender in Melville's The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids" Modern Language Studies 25.2 (1995): 80-87
28.^ Melville, Herman. Mardi, ed. Tyrus Hillway. New Haven: College and University Press, 1973. p. 132.
29.^ Melville, Herman. "Pierre" New York: Grove Press, 1957. p. 151.
30.^ E. Haviland Miller, Melville, New York 1975.
31.^ Weisberg, Richard H. The Failure of the Word: The Lawyer as Protagonist in Modern Fiction (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1989), chapters 8 and 9.
32.^ Janet Fang (2010-06-30). "Call me Leviathan melvillei". Nature. Retrieved 2010-06-30.
33.^ Pallab Ghosh (2010-06-30). "'Sea monster' whale fossil unearthed". BBC. Retrieved 2010-06-30.

Herman Melville : Pierre, Israel Potter, The Piazza Tales, The Confidence-Man, Tales, Billy Budd (Library of America)Herman Melville : Typee, Omoo, Mardi (Library of America)Herman Melville : Redburn, White-Jacket, Moby-Dick (Library of America)Herman Melville: Moby Dick, Billy Budd and Other Writings (Library of America College Editions)Herman MelvilleMelville: His World and WorkMelville's Short Novels (Norton Critical Editions)The Confidence-Man (Oxford World's Classics)Complete Shorter Fiction (Everyman's Library)Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy LandThe Poems of Herman MelvilleTypee: A Peep at Polynesian Life: During a Four Months' Residence in a Valley of the Marquesas (Classic Reprint)