|"Printed Books" by Spy [Sir Leslie Ward].|
Caricature of Dr Richard Garnett, CB in Vanity Fair, April 11, 1895.
|Catalogue of the library of the late Dr. Richard Garnett, C. B. (London, 1906) p. 17|
158 Melville (Herman) The Whale, 3 vol. FIRST EDITION, slightlyAccessible online courtesy of HathiTrust Digital Library:
soiled, uncut, 1851 — Clarel, a Poem, etc. 2 vol. New York, 1876 (5)
<https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uc2.ark:/13960/t4pk09j39?urlappend=%3Bseq=20>and Google Books:
< https://books.google.com/books?id=jV0-AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA17&lpg#v=onepage&q&f=false>In the December 1929 Blackwoods Magazine article "Moby-Dick and Mocha-Dick," Richard Garnett's son Robert Singleton Garnett (1866-1932) recalled that his father had corresponded with Melville. Unlocated letters to and from Richard Garnett are assigned the uncertain date 1890? in the 1993 Northwestern-Newberry Edition of Melville's Correspondence, ed. Lynn Horth, pages 520 and 754.
Edward Garnett (1868-1937) was another of Richard's sons who "attained literary prominence," as noted by William Garnett Chisolm:
The other son, Edward Garnett, is an eminent critic and author, and first gave encouragement to Joseph Conrad, W. H. Hudson, John Galsworthy and Stephen Crane. He married Constance Black, whose translations of the novels of Turgeniev and other Russian writers, has gained her a wide reputation. Their son, David Garnett, is a writer of brilliant prose, and his latest novel, "Pocahontas", is a vivid and most interesting portrayal of that romantic Colonial figure. -- The Garnetts of Essex County, The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography Vol. 42, No. 1 (January 1934), pages 72-83 at 73.The year after he married Constance, Edward Garnett wrote Melville about "remaking" Redburn, as Hershel Parker recounts:
"In July 1890 young Edward Garnett wrote Melville from the office of the publisher T. Fisher Unwin in London with an unusual proposal. For an adventure series, he hoped Melville would "recast Redburn, or preface it with an introduction, showing that whereas it was given to the world as a fiction remaking it from the class of fictitious to that of personal adventures." -- Herman Melville: A Biography Volume 2, 1851-1891 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), page 901.For more on the Garnetts, check out Helen Smith's The Uncommon Reader: A Life of Edward Garnett where
"Beyond his connections to some of the greatest minds in literary history, we also come to know Edward as the husband of Constance Garnett—the prolific translator responsible for introducing Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov to an English language readership—and as the father of David “Bunny” Garnett, who would make a name for himself as a writer and publisher." -- Macmillan publishersI'm reading the Kindle version now, with delight. The Uncommon Reader is reviewed by Amitava Banerjee on The Victorian Web. In the Times Literary Supplement review ("Father in letters," November 8, 2017), Andrew Motion highlights Garnett's editorial preference for evidence-based matter, plainly narrated:
The framework of everything Garnett said and did as an editor was defined by his wish to see literature adopt a large cosmopolitan spirit, while clearing itself of stylistic verbiage and abstraction, and embracing “documentary evidence”, unique physical details and realistic dialogue.Edward Garnett's 1890 pitch for a remake of Redburn would seem to illustrate this editorial "framework," although Helen Smith does not mention it. And Sir Andrew has decided that "Garnett's life will not need to be written again." Too bad for Melville fanatics, since the author of Moby-Dick and Clarel (both listed in the catalogue of his father's library) gets only one un-indexed mention. In chapter 23, Smith quotes a 1927 letter from Garnett to T. E. Lawrence that honors Melville as one of "the great spirits" like Dostoevsky and Dante who "don't hesitate about expressing themselves frankly." Perhaps some future edition of The Uncommon Reader could squeeze in a word or two more about Edward Garnett's inherited interest in Herman Melville.
- 1892 receipt for Clarel