Thursday, March 19, 2015

Gansevoort Melville's 1834 reading and the Albany Library catalog

In what's left of his 1834 Albany journal, Gansevoort Melville comments here and there on his current reading. Gansevoort specifically mentions visiting the Athenaem one Saturday to borrow two books from the library. As shown in a previous Melvilliana post, at that time the Albany Library was connected with the Athenaeum, and physically located in the Athenaeum building at 371 North Market street.

On January 4, 1834 Gansevoort recorded his approval of Byron's Zuleika after closely studying The Bride of Abydos. Gansevoort does not say if he owned the volume or where he got it. Possibly the Albany Library, if the two-volume edition of "Byron's (Lord) Works," catalogued as no. 1099, included Byron's popular "Bride." Other Byron titles in the Albany Library catalog are:
1288 Childe Harolde, 4th Canto.
1492 Marino Faliero, Doge of Venice
1555 Two Foscari
1601 Corsair
The next day Gansevoort commented on an extract from Thomas Skinner Surr's Winter in London which he found in Richard Griffin's Specimens of the Novelists and Romancers. The extract from Surr's novel appears in volume two of Griffin's anthology under the heading, "The Founder of a Family." Griffin's anthology was not published until 1831 and so of course does not appear in the 1828 catalogue of the Albany Library.
Specimens of the Novelists and Romancers, vol. 1 
Specimens of the Novelists and Romancers, vol. 2
On Saturday, January 18, 1834 Gansevoort says he did not leave home until noon. He went to the bank and then got two books from the library (open Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., in 1828): Jacqueline of Holland by Thomas Colley Grattan and Reginald Dalton by John Gibson Lockhart.

"Reginald Dalton, 2 v." is no. 1639 in the 1828 Catalogue--possibly an incomplete set or later (American?) edition. Jacqueline of Holland was published in 1831 so obviously does not show up in the 1828 Catalogue.
Jacqueline of Holland v. 1
Jacqueline of Holland v. 2
Jacqueline of Holland v. 3
Gansevoort read and took to heart "Watts on the Improvement of the Mind." Listed in the 1828 Albany Library catalog as no. 518, "Watts on the Mind."

Recuperating from a sore throat, Gansevoort read Cooper's The Prairie which is no. 484 in the 1828 Albany Library catalog.  The Albany Library also had Cooper's Precaution (No. 1432); The Spy (no. 1533); The Red Rover (no. 1437); Last of the Mohicans (no. 1736); and The Pilot (no. 1647).

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