Herman Melville is “still vigorous,” said one article published in 1890, one year before the death of the author. It was news. Melville was, like Ishmael, a wandering survivor of a masterful wreck. When the obits followed in 1891, readers again needed reminding. Melville? Alive? No longer. And his books, perhaps, the obit writers said, Typee will be remembered. And one, Melville was “an untrained imagination” with an “inaccurate and unliterary” vocabulary.