Best known for "Moby Dick: or, The Whale" and "Billy Budd Sailor," scrivener Herman Melville led a life almost as adventurous as his works. This record of his life resembles a travelogue.
"Famous Authors" examines the men and women behind the words that brought them literary kudos. In "Herman Melville," viewers learn how the cynical wordsmith was reared in an economically tight environment. Melville worked as a merchant marine to support his family and used his experiences to pen the mammoth "Moby Dick." He also wrote short stories, poetry and novellas including "Bartleby, The Scrivener" and "Billy Budd." However, as Melville's star rose, so ironically did his pessimism. This negative trait alienated some readers. Only following his death did such disaffected audiences come to appreciate his excellence.