Typee, A Captive Of Cannibals
Captured By Cannibals
Do you know that one of the most famous authors the world has ever known was once held captive by a tribe of cannibals? His most popular book has been translated into almost every language on earth, is required reading in many high schools and has been made into movies and television mini-series starring the Hollywood elite. His work has been made into graphic novels and even cartoons. Yet today, most of his work has been forgotten. His first book was a best seller that is almost completely unknown today while his world wide success is based exclusively on a book that was a failure in it's day. Can you guess who it is?
Which Author Was Captured By Cannibals?
Do you know which author was held captive by cannibals?
The Man Who Lived Among The Cannibals
I'll give you one last clue to the author's identity. In recent years, 2011 in fact, a German tourist was killed and eaten by cannibals on the very same island where our mysterious author was held captive, Nuku Hiva. You can read all about it by following the link below. The authors name was Herman Melville, famous for writing the sea epic Moby Dick.
Cannibals in 2011
- There are still cannibals on Nuku Hiva
In 2011 a German tourist was killed and eaten by canniblas on Nuku Hiva.
Read This Masterpiece
And The Mysterious Author Is....
Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick. When most of us think of Melville we think of an old man with a giant, bushy beard but we you might be surprised to discover that he was in fact an adventurous young man.
Typee is credited with inspiring other great authors such as Robert Louis Stevenson, my personal favorite, Jack London, and Australian author George Lewis Becke. In London's Cruise of the Snark, Jack references Typee directly, expecting to see exactly what Melville had described in this wonderful account of the South Pacific islands.
Written in 1846, Typee was Herman Melville's first novel and, while not a true biography, it still draws heavily from his real life experiences of being captured by a Nuku Hiva cannibal tribe and held against his will. Melville, and another crewman were captured by the tribesmen after they jumped ship and fled to what they thought was freedom and safety.
Oddly, Melville was actually very well treated by the Islanders who seemed to think of him as some kind of prize pet. While Melville's fellow castaway managed to escape sooner than Melville himself, the author finally did manage to gain his liberty in a daring and violent episode worthy of any Indiana Jones movie. Because of this, Melville was known publicly as The Man Who Lived Among The Cannibals.
Typee was a bestseller when it was released although it's authenticity was largely called into question for several years until Melville's fellow captive, Richard T. Greene, appeared to corroborate the details.
On the Lamb
A Review Of The Book Typee
Years ago, as a boy, i read Moby Dick and found it to be a bit of a grind. The experience soured me on Melville and so I neglected to try any of his other works for decades. After reading Typee I realize how much time I wasted and quickly began devouring everything written by this talented author. The most striking aspect of Herman Melville's writing is the humor. His sharp, dry whit is obvious and he has earned his seat at the head of the table were I granted the wish of inviting anyone I wanted to dinner.
Melville is an excellent example of how a writer can manipulate and entertain us with his talent. Even when he wanders 'off topic' we are still thoroughly engaged because his writing is just that good. I am convinced that Melville could have made the list of ingredients on a can of soup a good read.
In Typee, the protagonist, Tommo (Melville's alter ego), has the almost surreal experience of being a captive in paradise, where he is treated like an honored guest. He is served great food and allowed to do anything he likes. His movements are barely restricted, the bars of a prison being replaced by the dense jungle and, reportedly hostile tribes of headhunters surrounding them.
Added to which, he falls in love with a beautiful, island girl who returns his affections wholeheartedly. Take me to a prison like that any day! He is liked and respected by all and his life is an endless summer of ease and plenty.
And yet, he can't help but harbor a growing fear that he may be playing the part of a thanksgiving turkey, slowly being fattened up for a future meal. But all the while his hosts remain as cordial as can be. Even after Tommo's companion escapes their clutches, the tribes people never say a cross word or offer an act of unkindness to Tommo.
Typee is an excellent book that will excite you and make you laugh with almost every page. It is my favorite work by Herman Melville and everyone should take the time to enjoy it.