Herman Melville's reputation as a great writer has gradually evolved throughout the past century. Tempered by studies that emphasize the Western literary tradition, literary appreciation for Melville's use of folklore has been slow in developing. This ground-breaking study brings to the forefront the depth of Melville's immersion with borrowing from oral traditions: both music and narrative; tall-tale humor; nautical folklore; superstition; and legend. Though intended as a survey of Melville's use of folklore, this book also is important as a general introduction to his work. Unencumbered by critical jargon and narrated in an engaging manner, this book will appeal t o general readers as well as seasoned scholars of Melville.