Israel Potter

Israel Potter

His Fifty Years of Exile

Introduction by: Robert S. Levine
Noted by: Robert S. Levine

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780143105237
  • 288 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


The authoritative edition of Melville’s only historical novel

Based on the life of an actual soldier who claimed to have fought at Bunker Hill, Israel Potter is unique among Herman Melville’s books: a novel in the guise of a biography. In telling the story of Israel Potter’s fall from Revolutionary War hero to peddler on the streets of London, where he obtained a livelihood by crying “Old Chairs to Mend,” Melville alternated between invented scenes and historical episodes, granting cameos to such famous men of the era as Benjamin Franklin (Potter may have been his secret courier) and John Paul Jones, and providing a portrait of the American Revolution as the rollicking adventure and violent series of events that it really was.

This edition of Israel Potter, which reproduces the definitive text, includes selections from Potter’s autobiography, Life and Remarkable Adventures of Israel R. Potter, the basis for Melville’s novel.
Israel Potter

Israel Potter

Herman Melville, Introduction by: Robert S. Levine, Noted by: Robert S. Levine