ABOUT THIS BOOK
Initially dismissed as "a dead failure" and "a bad book," and declined by Melville's British publisher, Pierre has since struck critics as modern in its psychological probings and literary technique--fit, as Carl Van Vechten said in 1922, to be ranked with The Golden Bowl, Women in Love, and Ulysses. None of Melville's other "secondary" works has so regularly been acknowledged by its most thorough critics as a work of genuine grandeur, however flawed.
When Pierre Glendinning's lifelong desire for a sister is seemingly realized on the eve of his marriage, his world is suddenly turned upside down, for he must choose between acknowledging his illegitimate half-sister or perpetuating his unsullied family legacy. Melville unfolds the story of an idealistic young man whose steadfast beliefs lead him to destroy his world and himself.