Redburn is a fictional narrative of a boy's first voyage, based loosely on Melville's own first voyage to and from Liverpool in 1839. Hastily composed and little esteemed by its author, Redburn was more highly thought of by his critics, who saw it regaining the ground of popular sea stories like Typee and Omoo.
Melville so disliked the novel that he submitted it to his publisher without polishing it. This scholarly edition corrects a number of errors that have persisted in subsequent editions. Based on collations of the editions published during his lifetime, it incorporates corrections made in the English edition and emendations made by the present editors.
As with all the books in the Northwestern-Newberry series, this edition of Redburn is an Approved Text of the Center for Editions of American Authors (Modern Language Association of America).