You are here

Herman Melville's "Typee": A Fluid Text Edition

  • John Bryant, Editor

This innovative work represents the most advanced, and accessible, approach to the study of a "fluid text" (a work existing in multiple versions). Analyzing Melville's working draft manuscript of Typee, John Bryant establishes three layered versions of the heavily revised text and provides a chronological sequencing of Melville’s writing process. Each of over one thousand revision sites in the manuscript is identified and accompanied by a revision sequence that delineates each compositional step and a revision narrative explaining Melville's changes and how each revision evolved throughout the various stages of composition.

In addition, the edition offers a graphic, diplomatic transcription of the manuscript, digitized photographs of each leaf, a clear reading text of the manuscript’s final version, and the print version of the text as it first appeared in the first English edition of the novel. These features are searchable and linked to each other and to the edition’s revision sites, sequences, and narratives.

The Fluid-Text Edition is the first comprehensive study of the composition of Typee, shedding new light on the logic of Melville's creative choices, his use of sources, his complex relationship to his characters, and his growth as a writer.


  • XML-based for the most powerful searching capability
  • Complete transcripts of primary source materials
  • Extensive editorial and bibliographical notes
  • Regular updates to content and functionality
  • 24/7 online access, with no special hardware or hosting required


Bryant is a leading Melville scholar and the expert on the Typee manuscript. In his editions and his criticism, he offers models of how to represent and analyze literary revision.... This is a project of great promise, an original and important contribution to American literary scholarship.

Samuel Otter, University of California, Berkeley, author of Melville’s Anatomies

This project represents a peak (though not an end point) in Bryant’s groundbreaking work on the Typee manuscript and on electronic manuscript editing in general.... To have these materials online in a format accessible to students and scholars alike will be the fulfillment of Bryant’s work so far and a most exciting development for those of us who work with Melville’s texts.

Wyn Kelley, MIT, author of Melville’s City: Literary and Urban Form in Nineteenth-Century New York

About the Editor(s): 

John Bryant, Professor of English at Hofstra University, has published five books and numerous articles on Herman Melville and is the editor of the Penguin Classics edition of Typee.

Interested in this topic?
Stay updated with our newsletters:

Related Rotunda