Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Bartleby in Syracuse

via The Century Association Archives Foundation
From the Syracuse Evening Chronicle, November 21, 1853; found on Fultonhistory.com:

Syracuse, New York Evening Chronicle - November 21, 1853
"Bartleby the Scrivener, is a new story, which opens curiously and excites considerable interest."
I'm guessing this late but favorable notice of Putnam's magazine for November 1853 is by editor Robert Raikes Raymond (1817-1888), who went on to become Professor of English at Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute.



The timelier notice of Putnam's for December 1853 (Syracuse Evening Chronicle, November 28, 1853) mentioned "Bartleby, the Scrivener" along with "Wensley" and "Reminiscences of an Ex-Jesuit" as "well-written sketches."

Here are links to Herman Melville's short fiction "Bartleby, The Scrivener" as it originally appeared in Putnam's Monthly Magazine, Vol. 2 (July-December 1853), via Google Books:
and again, courtesy of HathiTrust Digital Library:
Later included in The Piazza Tales (New York: Dix & Edwards, 1856), pages 31-107.

"Bartleby" appeared anonymously in Putnam's, and the Syracuse reviewer does not name Melville as the author. Earlier in 1853, the Evening Chronicle had favorably compared the narrative style of The History of an Adopted Child by Geraldine Endsor Jewsbury with the "verisimilitude and simplicity" of Typee.  There, however, the reviewer lamented the lack of those qualities in Melville's subsequent books, perhaps with Moby-Dick (1851) and Pierre (1852) in mind. From the Syracuse Evening Chronicle, February 22, 1853:
This little volume purports to be written to teach forbearance to those "grown-up aunts and elder sisters," who "are not fond of children." The story is interesting, and the style in which it is told partakes of that verisimilitude and simplicity of statement, which characterize the writings of De Foe, and the first work (and alas, only that) of our own writer Melville.-- "Our unrivalled corps of critics" round the editorial hearth pronounce it a book to be read at a single sitting, and read without skipping.  
On September 4, 1854, the Syracuse Evening Chronicle reprinted a long passage from Israel Potter, chapter 5 under the heading, "George the Third." Herman Melville had already been identified as the author of "Israel Potter" in the notice of the September 1854 Putnam's, published in the Evening Chronicle on August 23, 1854. The excerpt from Putnam's was introduced as
"A characteristic scene in which this famous monarch was an actor, is given in the interesting story of "Israel Potter, " now in course of publication in Putnam's Magazine."
-- Syracuse Evening Chronicle (Syracuse, New York), September 4, 1854.
Sat, Nov 17, 1888 – 1 · The Standard Union (Brooklyn, New York) · Newspapers.com

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