Friday, August 26, 2016

Also by Charles G. Whiting: "Concerning Herman Melville" in the Springfield Republican - October 18, 1891

A long follow-up to Whiting's exceptional memorial to Herman Melville of October 4, 1891 appeared two weeks later in the Springfield Republican on October 18, 1891 under the title "CONCERNING HERMAN MELVILLE." This later piece took notice of the article on Melville's funeral in the New York Tribune (reprinted in The Critic Number 406) and of Arthur Stedman's October 11, 1891 article in the Sunday New York World (reprinted as "Melville of Marquesas" in the Review of Reviews, Volume 4). Along the way, the Republican writer echoes Stedman when commenting on "shallow" English admirers, namely Robert Buchanan:
"It is a pet notion of a few of these English men of letters of the lesser sort that they were born to discover the great writers of America, and Buchanan couples Melville with Walt Whitman as abiding in shadow to their own countrymen."
The Republican writer calls attention to Arthur Stedman's youth in relation to Melville "whom he knew well, as a young man knows a veteran."
Internal evidence that the writer is Charles Goodrich Whiting (1842-1922) appears in the paragraph where the writer makes a point of correcting misinformation in the October 4, 1891 memorial about the location of Melville's Pittsfield home:
Melville wrote his “Moby Dick” at Arrow Head, as we have stated, but it appears that we were in error in identifying that residence with the Van Schaack house in Pittsfield. Melville’s uncle lived in that house when Herman taught school in Pittsfield, but he “boarded round,” as we learn. The author’s house was about three-fourths of a mile from the Van Schaack mansion, on a road parallel with the South road. There was a cross-road running from one house to the other, and Herman Melville owned land on both sides this road clear up to the Van Schaack house. It was at Arrow Head that he used to receive visits from Hawthorne and other guests of note…. --"Concerning Herman Melville," Springfield Republican, Sunday, October 18, 1891
As confirmed in numerous places, for example the notice in the New York Times April 4, 1903, Whiting had been literary editor for the Springfield Republican since 1874. The whole piece "Concerning Herman Melville" immediately follows Whiting's Sunday column and graphically appears as a second item, after "THE LITERARY WAYSIDE," under the major head of "BOOKS, AUTHORS AND ART."

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