Pierre Glendinning is the 19-year-old heir to the manor at Saddle Meadows in upstate New York. Engaged to the blonde Lucy Tartan in a match approved by his domineering mother, Pierre encounters the dark and mysterious Isabel Banford, who claims to be his half sister, the illegitimate and orphaned child of his father and a European refugee.
Driven by his magnetic attraction to Isabel, Pierre devises a remarkable scheme to preserve his father's name, spare his mother's grief, and give Isabel her proper share of the estate.
First published in 1852, Pierre; or the Ambiguities was condemned by critics of the time: "a dead failure", "this crazy rigmarole", and "a literary mare's nest". Latter-day critics, however, have recognized in the story of Melville's idealistic young hero a corrosive satire of the sentimental Gothic novel and a revolutionary foray into modernist literary techniques.
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A rare treat for Melville fans