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Omoo [Anglais] [Relié]

Herman Melville

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.8 étoiles sur 5  6 commentaires
17 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Melville's second novel... 18 juillet 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur
is an excellent travel memoir (partially fictionalized) in the same vein as Typee.
Typee struck me most by its pictorial quality and sumptuous imagery. In Omoo, however, Melville shores up his powers of characterization, creating a fine supporting cast of individuals.
If you are only familiar with Melville's later work, you will be surprised by the wry sense of humor Melville flashes throughout. Detailed descriptions of practical jokes, drunken brawls, and cultural faux-pas will make you smile, and sometimes laugh out loud. Certain passages are actually a riot!
Also, in this novel (as compared to Typee), Melville's intrusions into the narrative are less glaring than they are in the previous novel. Yes, some of the diversions take the steam out of the narrative, as in Typee, but these diversions oftentimes give necessary exposition to illuminate characters' motivations.
The beginning of the novel effectively captures the claustrophobic atmosphere aboard a whaling ship, and the crew are indeed a motley lot.
Though you do not have to read Typee before you read Omoo (although the first page of Omoo is, literally, a continuation of the last page of Typee), I recommend you read both in conjunction. Be prepared to absorb a beautifully rendered atmosphere, describing the life of two roving beachcombers in the South Pacific in the early 19th century.
9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Beginning Melville - a charming start to a literary career. 9 juin 2005
Par Epops - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
The word that keeps coming to mind as I think about this book is "charming". Melville was in a good mood when he wrote "Omoo", no doubt enjoyed looking back on a very pleasurable period of his still-young life. While it is true that "Omoo" wasn't nearly as successful as "Typee" had been, it is still an impressive work for a young man in his mid-twenties.

I enjoyed his portraits of the people he meets, and especially of his doctor friend, "Long Ghost". His descriptions of Polynesian life and the historical context are quite interesting. And it's funny: Melville had very good sense of humor, displays it throughout "Omoo".

While the book is mainly a picaresque story of adventure, recounting the details of daily life in an exotic setting, and is a much happier book than "Typee", there are a few scenes that preview Melville's later narrative power. Here is the "Julia" in a tropical Pacific gale:

"Under such a press of canvas, and with the heavy sea running, the barque, diving her bows under, now and then shipped green glassy waves, which, breaking over the head-rails, fairly deluged that part of the the ship, and washed clear aft."

And here is a glimpse of the brooding quality of his later work:

"But my meditations were soon interrupted by a gray, spectral shadow cast over the heaving billows. It was the dawn, soon followed by the first rays of the morning. They flashed into view at one end of the arched night, like - to compare great things with small - the gleamings of Guy Fawkes's lantern in the vaults of the Parliament House. Before long, what seemed a live ember rested for a moment on the rim of the ocean, and at last the blood-red sun stood full and round in the level East, and the long sea-day began."

But these are very isolated examples. By and large, "Omoo" is a great contrast with Melville's other books. It is a light, easy, and amusing read. Highly recommended for Melville fans.

Helpful critical works on Melville:

Newton Arvin - "Herman Melville"

D.H. Lawrence -"Studies in Classic American Literature".

F.O. Matthiessen - "American Renaissance"

Note: This particular edition is from the Northwestern-Newberry Edition of Melville's works, and is an MLA Approved Text. As such, it is authoritative, but it lacks an explanatory introduction, which may be a slight drawback.
20 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Not quite a portrait of the artist as a young man 17 juin 2008
Par H. Schneider - Publié sur
I am approaching the writer Melville with little prior knowledge about the man Melville. Apart from the Whale, read 30 years ago, I knew only Typee before taking up Omoo. Omoo is of course a sequel to Typee. While Typee's core theme is the narrator's life in captivity among an intact tribe of 'savages' in the Marquesas, Omoo continues his adventures as an island hopper, a sailor involved in a mutiny, a jailbird, a farm worker...
All is told with a light hand, in short chapters. Interspersed are thoughts about colonialism and missionaries and about the fate of the native population of the islands. There is lots of ethnology on mainly two exotic tribes: the population of the whaling ships, and the people who live on Tahiti. The attacks on the missionaries seem to have been toned down a bit in view of criticisms at home. The sequel was less well received than the first book.
What strikes me as curious about Omoo is the extent to which the author hides behind a mocking and sometimes self-ironic tone. He is not much given to reflections about himself, or at least not to sharing those with us. What do we conclude about the character of the hero? Obviously he has some problems integrating in his various social environments. He is always the outsider. He runs from his first ship, is an exotic guest in Typee, runs away, joins half-heartedly in a mutiny on his second ship, stays apart from the jail crowd and 'walks away' from prison, doesn't like the work on the potato farm, escapes from some unclear danger in the next village... Would one extrapolate so far, does it seem likely that he will succeed in settling down to any longer term project? He seems unsteady and shallow, aloof without much depth to offer. The story itself is fairly simple, the author does not appear to have a message above the adventure narration and a few rather superficial thoughts on the evils of civilization. In other words, one hopes he will grow up some time. Let's see.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Must Read! 6 décembre 2013
Par Ana Loggana - Publié sur
"Omoo" is an unmade movie. I loved this book. Good adventure reader and the two main characters are eccentric and very likeable. It's the kind of book that made me think--"Yeah! That's the way life is to be done." (I think the cover on the PB is lame but don't let that put you off on what's inside.)
3.0 étoiles sur 5 The rover continues to rove through loosely connected episodes 30 octobre 2012
Par BOB - Publié sur
As Melville stated himself, Omoo is only a sequel to Typee in that it follows the events that occur to the narrator after his experience with the Typee people from his first book. Only referred to once by his nickname Typee, the otherwise unnamed narrator agrees to temporary employment on the whaling ship Julia but finds himself in the middle of a crew that is dominated by a first mate while the captain has abdicated his responsibility and retreated into his infirmity. Upon the rejection of appeals to the local British consul to be exempt from active duty due to their own infirmity and the insistence of the mate that they get back to work, the narrator joins a group of mutineers that are taken ashore at Tahiti and confined to a makeshift jail from which escape is absurdly easy.

Along with his fellow escapee and roving companion Doctor Long Ghost, the narrator proceeds to wander among the islands, seeking nominal employment only when it requires little effort and changing plan and direction upon momentary impulse. The two wanderers work for a pair of Australian and British planters briefly, then hear of other Westerners obtaining respectable employment as translators/private secretaries to chiefs of some of the clans and consider that that prospect might be enjoyable as well as respectable. As soon as they settle on one occupation they discard the idea in favor of something more appealing.

The book takes on the rambling, episodic shape of their wanderings and lacks the cohesive narrative arc of Typee. In that book a thread of tension inherent in fear of the narrator that his benevolent captivity masked the true intentions of his cannibalistic captors of preparing him for a nice, hearty meal. In Omoo there is no realistic sense of danger. The rovers roam freely, escape captivity easily and possess an ease of mobility that the character in the first book never attained. This book is a loose narrative that merely serves the purpose of providing a framework in which Melville can describe the local culture, including brief explanations of dress, history, lifestyle, industry and so on.

The most riveting portion of the book occurs early, with the description of the whaler and its crew. Notably, Melville's experience on a whaler such as the Julia not only enabled him to describe a whaling ship with verisimilitude but also provided him with the setting for Moby-Dick. The Julia and its crew is a greatly inferior forerunner of the more vividly realized Pequod and its array of memorable characters. No real whaling is described in Omoo and the conditions that precipitate the mutiny and subsequent Tahitian adventures are never sufficiently conveyed. The mate John Jermin is a weak predecessor of Captain Ahab.

Omoo is intermittently interesting and the depiction of the native life varies in the extent to which it is successful. After reading the facts of Melville's experience from which he derived the narrative, I can see that he indulged in a great deal of fictional invention, conflating events and creating composite characters. What he failed to do was to create a compelling story. I would recommend the book only to readers who, like me, are curious about the books that Melville wrote before Moby-Dick changed the course of his career and secured his position in world literature.
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