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]


Herman Melville in 1860
  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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