Herman Melville's The Chola Widow: Facing Rape and Death in the Galapagos Islands: A Short Story from The Encantadas or Enchanted Isles
Author: Herman Melville, Lynn Michelsohn, Moses Michelsohn
Format: Kindle Edition
Publisher: Cleanan Press, Inc.
Release Date: June 12, 2011
Stranded on a deserted island in the Galapagos Archipelgo, one woman perseveres in the face of threats from a harsh environment and ravaging sailors. This heartbreaking tale foreshadows themes in Herman Melville's later novella, "Billy Budd."
Melville's first glimpse of the Galapagos Islands came as a young seaman on the whaler Acushnet out of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Years later, after the failure of his novel Moby-Dick, he tried to regain his lost popularity by writing a series ten of magazine sketches recalling this visit to the Galapagos Islands. He called his series "The Encantadas or The Enchanted Isles."
This short story (5,000 words, about 20 pages if it were a paperback), with a modern introduction by Lynn Michelsohn and photographs of the Galapagos Islands by Moses Michelsohn, is one of those magazine sketches. It is a selection from the longer book, In the Galapagos Islands with Herman Melville (available on Kindle, and in paperback) that includes all ten sketches, introductions to each sketch, wildlife photographs, and additional information about Melville and the Galapagos Islands.