Saturday, October 1, 2022
Monday, September 26, 2022
"But they think everything we propose is crazy. They think it's unenlightened, that we want to take away rights... the middle ages ... You know the middle ages was also the time of the cathedrals and the abbeys, the founding of the comuni, the universities, the parliament, the epoch of Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Saint Francis, Saint Benedict ... People who don't know where Matera is, let's not expect them to have read history books."Meloni sounded like Ungar debating Derwent in Melville's Clarel.
A magnanimity which our time
Would envy, were it great enough
To comprehend. -- Clarel Part 4 Canto 10 A Monument
Herman Melville, Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land (New York, 1876). Edited by Walter E. Bezanson for Hendricks House, Inc. (New York, 1960).
Friday, September 23, 2022
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
Kevin J Hayes, E. B. Neill and Moby-Dick, Notes and Queries, 2022;, gjac100, https://doi.org/10.1093/notesj/gjac100
Monday, September 19, 2022
Accessible courtesy of the great Internet Archive, a virtual version of the 1929 edition of Pierre; or, The Ambiguities, introduced by John Brooks Moore with a preface by H. M. Tomlinson, and published in New York, NY by E. P. Dutton & Co. The real thing is from Trent University Library, donated by the distinguished Canadian scholar Gordon Roper (1911-2005) and apparently containing his marginal annotations.
One annotation in Roper's copy of Pierre strikes me as especially good, the neatly inscribed comment in the left margin on page 44, next to a passage from the fourth section of Book II, Love, Delight, and Alarm. Part IV starts on page 43 of this edition and ends near the top of page 47 with "what wonder then that Love was aye a mystic?"
Since the 1980's, academic critics for the most part have regarded Melville's language in this particular section of Pierre as excessively romantic and sentimental. So obviously overblown, that it can't be taken seriously. Most take it for satire. Melville must be joking when his narrator avows, for instance, that
Love is both Creator's and Saviour's gospel to mankind; a volume bound in rose-leaves , clasped with violets, and by the beaks of humming-birds printed with peach-juice on the leaves of lilies.
Introducing the Norton Critical Edition of Pierre, editors Robert S. Levine and Cindy Weinstein highlight "humor and parody" as the chief effects of Melville's "overworked prose" in Book II.For Samuel Otter in Melville's Anatomies (University of California Press, 1999) Melville's imagery is "absurdly literalized" (page 205).
MILDER, ROBERT. “MELVILLE’S ‘INTENTIONS’ IN ‘PIERRE.’” Studies in the Novel 6, no. 2 (1974) pages 186–99 at 192-193. http://www.jstor.org/stable/29531656.
One consequence of this view is that Lucy Tartan, the proper heroine of Pierre, gets lost way before Pierre dumps her and moves to the city with Isabel and Delly. Isabel, maybe Pierre's half sister, has effectively displaced Lucy in Melville criticism as well as in the twisted mind of Melville's enthusiast-hero Pierre Glendinning.
Disheartened by so many Lucy-less views I exclaimed in wonder, great googly-moogly! Have these eminent English professors never been in love? Gordon Roper knew better. As rightly remarked in the margin, Melville's fantastically infatuate "style" exactly suits Pierre's mood and perfectly captures the insanely elevated feelings of any red-blooded youth in his predicament:
"style of these opening pages his attempt to give the reader the feeling of the young man in first love."