The 'New' Melville

Revelations about author's personal life bring a re-evaluation

Vigorous men populate his fiction, but Herman Melville's home life was dominated by poor health and writer's block. During the agonizing periods when he struggled with the blank page, his wife and daughters diligently helped to copy and correct his manuscripts.

Melville was a tyrant at home, so much so that in 1867, family friends concocted a plan to spirit away his wife, Elizabeth Shaw Melville, and pretend she was kidnaped.

These and other revelations are found in a pair of