(1819-1891) was born into a once-prominent New York family, that later found themselves impoverished. He tried several occupations, including clerking at a bank and teaching, before taking to a life at sea. At various times he worked as a harpooner and lived among cannibals.
In his lifetime he had only a small following and supported his family during the second half of his life as a farmer and then as a customs inspector. It wasn't until some 30 years after his death that he was recognized as a great American writer. He used his adventures at sea to write memoirs of his travels, adventure stories and ultimately his masterpiece, the novel, "Moby Dick."
Pub Date: 3/29/98