The Piazza Tales

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The Piazza Tales
Author Herman Melville
Country United States
Language English
Genre Literary fiction, short stories
Published 1856 (Dix, Edwards & Co.)
Media type Print
Preceded by Israel Potter
Followed by The Confidence-Man

The Piazza Tales (1856) is the only collection of short stories by American writer Herman Melville. It was published with Dix & Edwards in the United States and a British edition followed shortly afterward. Except for the title story, "The Piazza," all of the stories had appeared in Putnam's Monthly, the first being Bartleby, the Scrivener in 1853.[1] Melville had originally intended to entitle the volume Benito Cereno and Other Sketches,[1] but it was The Encantadas, his sketches of the Galápagos Islands, that garnered the most attention from critics.[2] Even though The Piazza Tales received largely favorable reviews, it did not sell well enough to get Melville out of his financial straits.[3][4]


  1. "The Piazza"
  2. "Bartleby, the Scrivener" (first published in Putnam's November and December 1853)
  3. "Benito Cereno" (first published in Putnam's October, November and December 1855)
  4. "The Lightning-Rod Man" (first published in Putnam's August 1854)
  5. "The Encantadas or Enchanted Isles" (first published in Putnam's March, April, and May 1854)
  6. "The Bell-Tower" (first published in Putnam's August 1855)


  1. ^ a b Rollyson and Paddock, p. 157
  2. ^ Branch, p. 35
  3. ^ Robertson-Laurant, p. 358.
  4. ^ Parker p. 283ff extensively discusses the contemporary reviews and how ineffective they ultimately proved to be.


  • Branch, Watson G. Herman Melville, the Critical Heritage. London; Boston: Routledge & K. Paul, 1974. ISBN 0-7100-7774-2
  • Parker, Hershel. Herman Melville: A Biography. 2 vols. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-8018-5428-8
  • Robertson-Lorant, Laurie. Melville: A Biography. New York: Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 1995. ISBN 0-517-59314-9
  • Rollyson, Carl E., and Lisa Olson Paddock. Herman Melville a to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. Facts on File Library of American Literature. New York: Facts on File, 2001. ISBN 0-8160-3851-1.

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