May 25, 2011

Herman Melville's passport application


(Via Biblioklept) A copy of the passport application, submitted at the age of 37 by the round-chinned, straight-nosed, oval-face Herman Melville, long after his seafaring days were over and his literary reputation had declined. It appears he considered embellishing his height, and then thought better of it. The year would have been 1866. As Melville biographer Hershel Parker describes that period in his life: “Melville, not at all insane and unaware of his wife’s desperation, wrote a book of poems and published it, and at the end of 1866 he took a job.”