"Melville Biography is a superb contribution to a fledgling field: the study of the writing of literary lives. To a young academic with even the faintest interest in biography, Mr. Parker's book may come as a revelation, as well as a horrifying insight into the way biographers and biography have been abused. It should also be a call to arms, although I doubt that in the tenure-bound, cliquish world of the academy many will follow Hershel Parker into the breach. —Wall Street Journal
Melville Biography: An Inside Narrative is amazing, and deliciously different from Hershel Parker’s string of non-retirement works—intricately rooted in verifiable facts, precise and reliable as ever, but juicier, braver, and better than anything he has done before now. This Inside Narrative masterfully and entertainingly blends intellectual autobiography, the untold and unexamined history of Melville scholarship, and instructive case studies in the praxis of biography. Research hounds like me, thrilled by Parker’s tales of the hunt, will delightedly follow him on the trail of evidence and savor the joy of discovery. Academics across the disciplines will be challenged by Parker’s insistent and cogently argued distinction between scholarship and criticism. All readers who cherish truth-seeking and truth-saying will be shocked then heartened by Parker’s exposés of bad scholarship, fake scholarship, and the "mutual admiration society" of celebrity critics. As intellectual autobiography Parker’s Inside Narrative is compelling and revealing. In essence Parker demonstrates why his two-volume Melville biography is matchless in scope, depth, accuracy, integrity, and humanity. As the wonderfully intimate autobiography of the biographer and history of the biography, Melville Biography: An Inside Narrative powerfully reveals what you need to acquire, and what you have to give up, to be maestro." —Scott Norsworthy, Bibliographical Associate on The Writings of Herman Melville and author of "Melville’s Notes from Thomas Roscoe’s The German Novelists."
"Melville Biography: An Inside Narrative takes us on an extraordinary journey through the life and mind of Hershel Parker, the world's greatest Melville scholar. From his harvest of hundreds of primary documents, Parker wove their revelations into his authoritative and compelling two-volume biography (1996 and 2002). Parker’s life's work illustrates Beethoven's great maxim, that genius is the art of taking pains. This new book will enthrall not just Melville fans, but all fans of great literature. It is must reading for anyone who aspires to research a credible, fact-based biography. It is also must reading for anyone who cares about creating great art, for in its tales of triumph, conflict, and suppression at long last overcome, can be found all that one puts at hazard in setting out on such an unfashionable voyage. —James Hime, Edgar finalist for The Night of the Dance, author of other Jeremiah Spur mysteries and the Kindle Book, Three Thousand Bridges.