Saturday, March 16, 2019

Anderson's Solace

Chewing tobacco, the brand Herman Melville bought for 10 cents in Louisville, Kentucky. Melville was on the way to Cincinnati, Ohio where he lectured on Statues in Rome (February 2, 1858 in Smith and Nixon's Hall) for the Young Men's Mercantile Library Association.

via Peter's Paper Antiques
The entry "Solace — (Anderson's)       10" appears in Melville's Memoranda of Travel Expenses 1857-58, as transcribed by Merton M. Sealts, Jr. in Melville as Lecturer (Harvard University Press, 1957), page 192.

Sun, Jul 12, 1857 – Page 2 · The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio) ·
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Ad for Melville's Statues in Rome lecture in the Israelite

Fri, Jan 29, 1858 – P238 · The American Israelite (Cincinnati, Ohio) ·
Founded and edited by Isaac Mayer Wise (1819-1900), The Israelite was a weekly Jewish newspaper, "Devoted to the Religion, History and Literature of the Israelites." Now The American Israelite, and still published in Cincinnati. Before moving to Cincinnati in April 1854, Wise resided in Albany, New York where
 "he became an advocate for reforms such as confirmation, choral singing and mixed pews."  --American Jewish Archives
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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

‘The Word Made Art’ exhibit marks Melville’s 200th birthday - PenBay Pilot

‘The Word Made Art’ exhibit marks Melville’s 200th birthday - PenBay Pilot: WALDOBORO — Tidemark Gallery and Café presents “The Word Made Art,” a group art exhibition to mark this year's celebration of Herman Melville’s 200th birthday with works inspired by the the American Renaissance (1820-1860). Participating visual...

Monday, February 25, 2019

Harper & Brothers booklists

Herman Melville's Works.

The new path struck out by Melville in Typee and Omoo has led to a wide and brilliant fame in a short space of time. Few of the younger American authors are more extensively read or more universally admired. His pictures of primitive social life in the islands of the South Sea possess an irresistible charm. The works devoted to this subject are redolent of the spicy fragrance of the native forests, and glow with the splendid lights of a tropical sky. In his other productions, comic humor is admirably blended with powerful description, grave reflection, and exciting narrative. Surpassed in originality by no recent writer in literature, his works form an epoch in its progress, and are indispensable in every library. --Harper & Brothers' Book-List, 1855
The Harpers continued to offer Moby-Dick (1851) and Pierre (1852) during the latter 1850's. In Capital Letters: Authorship in the Antebellum Literary Market (University of Iowa Press, 2009), David Dowling (page 158) cites the 1855 Harper & Brothers' Book-List as evidence of a restrictive genre classification that boxed Melville's writings in "Voyages and Travels." But the same 1855 table ("Index of Subjects and Works Relating to Them") also places "Melville's works" with those of Bulwer and Dickens in the category of "Fiction" (xiv), while itemizing his first six books (Omoo first) under "Voyages and Travels" (viii).

And Pierre is the first named of Melville's works in the index presented in the back of the 1855 Harpers' Book-List.

The Table of Contents for the 1859 Harper & Brothers' List of Publications assigns "Melville's works" to the category of "Novels" (page xvii) as well as "Travel and Adventure" (xxii). Only Omoo appears in the "South Seas" category (xx). The "Index Arranged Under Authors' Names" in the back of the 1859 Harpers' List now gives "Melville's works" without specifying any particular title.

Of course, Melville's three books of fiction after Pierre could never have been promoted by the Harpers under any genre. Israel Potter (1855) was published by G. P. Putnam & Co.; both The Piazza Tales (1856) and The Confidence-Man (1857) were issued by the doomed firm of Dix & Edwards.

In May 1855 Harper & Brothers promoted all seven of their books by Herman Melville, not excluding Pierre, in booklist-based newspaper ads for "Herman Melville's Works." This one appeared in the New York Morning Courier on May 29, 1855:

New York Morning Courier - May 29, 1855
via Fulton History
Evidently the Harpers were happy to capitalize (if they could) on Melville's newfound success as a magazinist, as well as the early popularity of Typee. In 1860 Melville wanted "a decent publisher" for his completed but never published book of poems--not the Harpers, he specified in detailed memoranda for his brother Allan. Nevertheless, Harper & Brothers in 1866 did publish Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War, Melville's collection of Civil War poems. Five of the poems in Battle-Pieces also appeared in Harper's New Monthly Magazine.