In the "Historical Note" for the Northwestern-Newberry Edition of Israel Potter, Walter E. Bezanson mentions two nineteenth-century printings of "Ethan Allen's Captivity," compiled from two chapters (21 and 22) in Melville's story of Israel Potter that originally appeared in the February 1855 issue of Putnam's magazine and were duly incorporated in the 1855 book version. One reprinting, in the Western Literary Messenger for September 1855, had been cited by Jay Leyda in volume 2 of The Melville Log. Another reprinting, from the New York Leader of June 8, 1856, was listed by Steven Mailloux and Hershel Parker in the pamphlet Checklist (Melville Society, 1975), later revised by Kevin J. Hayes and Hershel Parker in their Checklist of Melville Reviews (Northwestern University Press, 1991).
|Putnam's Monthly Magazine - February 1855|
Though born in New England, he exhibited no trace of her character. --Putnam's magazine, February 1855; and Israel Potter: His Fifty Years of Exile (New York: G. P. Putnam and Co., 1855)
To which the newspaper versions unfailingly add,
"except that his heart beat wildly for his country's freedom."
|Washington, D. C. Evening Star - May 20, 1856|
"Israel Potter, an exiled Englishman, while strolling around Pendennis Castle, where Allen was confined, chanced to hear him in one of his outbursts of indignation and madness, of which the following is a specimen...."Israel Potter was of course American, not "an exiled Englishman" as stated in many nineteenth-century reprintings, for example in the Wellsborough, Pennsylvania Agitator, and the Western Literary Messenger. With specific reference to the Western Literary Messenger version, Alide Cagidemetrio points out the "exiled Englishman" bit as a "rare, historically humorous twist" (Fictions of the Past: Hawthorne & Melville, University of Massachusetts Press, 1992, page 113). But however ironic in effect, the turning of Melville's unfortunate war hero into "an exiled Englishman" was not unique and did not originate in the Western Literary Messenger, as will be seen. And some reprintings quietly corrected the error, making Israel Potter "an exiled American."
The "Ethan Allen" extract from Melville's story of "Israel Potter" in Putnam's magazine enjoyed a wider circulation in contemporary newspapers than previously recognized. Below are listed additional reprintings, not cited in the Northwestern-Newberry Edition of Israel Potter. "P" indicates that Melville's descriptor "Pagan" or "pagan" has been retained; EE = "exiled Englishman" in reference to Israel Potter; EA = "exile (or "exiled") American."
- The Agitator (Wellsborough, Pennsylvania), May 3, 1855. P, EE.
Found on Newspapers.comFrom Putnam's Magazine
ETHAN ALLEN'S CAPTIVITY.
A TRUE AMERICAN STORY OF THRILLING INTEREST.
- Mineral Point Tribune, July 18, 1855 (Mineral Point, Wisconsin). "From Putnam's Magazine" / Ethan Allen's Captivity." P, EE
- Washington County People's Journal, July 26, 1855 (Greenwich, New York). "From Putnam's Magazine / Ethan Allen's Captivity." P, EE
- The Weekly Michigan Argus, October 12, 1855 (Ann Arbor, Michigan). "From Putnam's Magazine / Ethan Allen's Captivity." P, EE
- Richland County Observer, April 8, 1856 (Richland Center, Wisconsin). "Ethan Allen's Captivity." P, EE
- Franklin Democrat, May 12, 1856 (Greenfield, Massachusetts). "Ethan Allen in Captivity." P. EE.
- Evening Star, May 20, 1856 (Washington, D. C.). "Ethan Allen in Captivity." P, EA
- Raftsman's Journal, June 18, 1856 (Clearfield, Pennsylvania). "Ethan Allen in Captivity." EA.
- Bedford Inquirer and Chronicle, July 11, 1856 (Bedford, Pennsylvania). "Ethan Allen in Captivity." EA
- Democrat and Sentinel, July 16, 1856 (Ebensburg, Pennsylvania). "Ethan Allen in Captivity." EA
- Lake Superior Journal, September 6, 1856 (Marquette, Michigan)."Ethan Allen in Captivity." EA
- Cooper's Clarksburg Register, January 16, 1857 (Clarksburg, West Virginia). "Ethan Allen in Captivity." EA
- The Weekly Portage Sentinel, March 21, 1860 (Ravenna, Ohio). "Ethan Allen in Captivity." P, EA
- The Monroe Sentinel, July 4, 1860 (Monroe, Wisconsin). "Ethan Allen's Captivity." P, EE