Redburn: His First Voyage is a semi-autobiographical novel that recounts the adventures of a refined youth among coarse and brutal sailors.
Unable to find employment at home and deciding to go to sea, young Wellingborough Redburn signs on the Highlander, a merchantman out of New York City and bound for Liverpool. Representing himself as the "son of a gentleman" and expecting comparable treatment as such, he soon discovers that he is just a green hand and assigned all the duties no other sailor wants.
Herman Melville was an American writer of novels, short stories and poetry. Melville was a schoolteacher for a short time and a seaman. On his first voyage he jumped ship in the Marquesas Islands. His first book, Typee, was an account of that time and became a bestseller and Melville became known as the "man who lived among the cannibals." Public indifference to Moby-Dick put an end to his career as a popular author. It was not until the "Melville Revival" in the early 20th century that his work won recognition.