Pierre: or, The Ambiguities


Pierre; or, The Ambiguities is a novel, the seventh book, by American writer Herman Melville, first published in New York in 1852. The plot, which uses many conventions of Gothic fiction, develops the psychological, sexual, and family tensions between Pierre Glendenning; his widowed mother; Glendenning Stanley, his cousin; Lucy Tartan, his fiancee; and Isabel Banford, who is revealed to be his half-sister.

Coming after the lukewarm reaction to Moby-Dick, Pierre was a critical and financial disaster. Initial reviewers universally condemned both its morals and its style. More recent critics have been more sympathetic, seeing it as a "psychological novel -- a study of the moods, thought processes, and perceptions of his hero." [1] With the exception of Israel Potter, he never published another conventional novel, although he subsequently wrote and published many stories, including Bartleby, the Scrivener and Benito Cereno, and the experimental novel, The Confidence-Man.

This content is from Wikipedia. GradeSaver is providing this content as a courtesy until we can offer a professionally written study guide by one of our staff editors. We do not consider this content professional or citable. Please use your discretion when relying on it.