Herman Melville is best known as the author of “Moby Dick” © Author Adventures

Herman Melville, the Literary Pride of Pittsfield

Herman Melville (1819-1891) was a struggling novelist during most of his lifetime. His stories were developed from his experience with extreme survival situations at sea and on land. The novel that became his best known work, Moby Dick (1851), was acclaimed by critics primarily after his death and emerged over time as one of the greatest novels ever published by an American. In more recent years, attention has been brought to Melville’s deep admiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne, a personal friend and contemporary writing peer, who advised on the story as it was written.

Read more about the author at these links:

His Writing

Melville was a prolific 19th century writer. A list of his works and additional biographical information can be found here: https://www.biblio.com/herman-melville/author/653. Much of it is in the public domain now and can be downloaded for free here: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/9. In addition to Moby Dick, he is also especially regarded for the novel Billy Budd, which was published posthumously in 1924.

The Place

“The field where Melville grew pumpkins and corn for his horse and cow is a meadow, wild with violets, irises, daisies, clover, bee balm, Queen Anne’s lace, vetch, and chickweed.” https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/07/29

The Melville house is called “Arrowhead” and is located at 780 Holmes Road in Pittsfield. Tours are fee-based and reserved for individuals or groups by prior arrangement typically in season only (May-September). Find details here: https://berkshirehistory.org/visit-us.

Pittsfield is the historic county seat of Berkshire County with a population of a fairly small town, though it has approximately eight times the population of when the author moved there in 1850.

Melville’s Arrowhead is the final stop on the Massachusetts Author Adventures Trail, Part 2 (Central-Western Massachusetts).

Patricia Smart