Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Frederic Swartwout Cozzens on Mardi

Mardi: and a Voyage Thither (1849). PS2384 .M3 1849 v1
 from the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library of The Ohio State University Libraries
Nineteenth-century reviews and notices of Herman Melville's works usually appeared without a credit line. In print, even signed reviews would display initials only, or a pseudonym. More often than not, the author remains unknown. It's good and satisfying, therefore, whenever we can identify one of Melville's contemporary reviewers by name and thus augment our knowledge about the reception history of his writings. In some cases, scholars may have incautiously ascribed reviews by unknown editorial hands to chief editors of newspapers and magazines in which they appeared. Occasionally, as here, a correct identification in previous Melville scholarship can get overlooked or disregarded, and perhaps forgotten.

Frederic S. Cozzens, detail from Elliott and his Friends (1857) by Junius Brutus Stearns
Image Credit: Graphic Arts Collection, Special Collections, Firestone Library, Princeton University
Aptly tagged as an "American humorist" in his time and ours, the writer and wine-merchant Frederic Swartwout Cozzens (1818-1869) was credited in the 1950's and 1960's with commentary on Mardi that appeared over the pseudonym "Richard Haywarde" in the August 1849 issue of Graham's magazine. The scholarly attribution to Cozzens continued to receive at least tacit acceptance for several decades and informed, for example, the work of Daniel Ware Reagan in his 1984 doctoral dissertation on The Making of an American Author. However, Cozzens's authorship was not acknowledged in later collections including the biggest and best, Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews, edited by Brian Higgins and Hershel Parker (Cambridge University Press, 1995; paperback 2009). The rationale for omitting attributions deemed questionable was made explicit in the Checklist of Melville Reviews (Northwestern University Press, 1991), edited by Kevin J. Hayes and Hershel Parker. Introducing their revision of the 1975 Checklist of Melville Reviews, Hayes and Parker noted the lack of "conclusive" documentary evidence for some previous attributions (unspecified), and invited reconsideration of "the whole question of authorship of reviews so that someone else may make a responsible survey of the evidence for attributions (xii)."

Frederic S. Cozzens
via The New York Public Library Digital Collections
To that end, this post marshals proof that F. S. Cozzens read a good way into first volume of Melville's Mardi, and wrote about it for Graham's magazine. The old evidence of Cozzens's established pseudonym together with new, digitized evidence of marginalia in his copy of Mardi, should be more than sufficient to reclaim Frederic Swartwout Cozzens as one of Melville's known critics. In the guise of Richard Haywarde, Cozzens generously sampled the first volume of Mardi for readers of Graham's magazine, appreciating the "beautiful Aurora-flashes of light" while lamenting Melville's "fripperies" and "puerilities."

In 1847 and again ten years later, the literary career of F. S. Cozzens closely tracked that of Herman Melville. Both wrote for Yankee Doodle, the New York humor magazine, although Cozzens is not named as a contributor by Luther Stearns Mansfield in Melville's Comic Articles on Zahchary Taylor. In the posthumously published Autobiographic Sketch, Cozzens admitted to writing "a humorous imitation of Spenser" (the illustrated verse tale of Sir Clod his Undoinge, published in Yankee Doodle on March 13, 1847, page 242); and a "Mythological History of the Heavens" (published under the general heading of Celestial Intelligence on March 20, 1847, page 256). In the mid 1850's both Cozzens and Melville wrote for Putnam's magazine. Submissions from both were initially rejected by George William Curtis, who wrote to publisher Joshua Dix on June 18, 1855 that
"Melville & Cozzens have not passed muster." -- quoted in The Melville Log, ed. Jay Leyda (Harcourt, Brace, and Company, 1951), volume 2, page 502. Houghton Library, Harvard has the original with correspondence of Dix, Edwards & Company that also includes letters from Frederick S. Cozzens in February and March 1856.
Curtis meant Melville's "The Bell-Tower," and maybe a sketch in Cozzens's "Living in the Country" series, neither of which appeared in the July 1855 issue. But Curtis changed his mind about "The Bell-Tower," as Hershel Parker points out in the second volume of Herman Melville: A Biography (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), page 259. "Living in the Country" resumed with further rural adventures of Mr. and Mrs. Sparrowgrass in the August 1855 issue of Putnam's, where The Bell-Tower also shows up on pages 123-130. In the December 1855 number of Putnam's, the third and final installment of Melville's short fiction Benito Cereno follows immediately after another episode of Living in the Country by Cozzens. ("Living in the Country" began in the December 1854 Putnam's; the same issue also featured three chapters of Melville's story Israel Potter, starting with John Paul Jones and his gallant call on the Countess of Selkirk.) By May 1856, both writers had book versions of their Putnam's sketches ready for sale: Melville's The Piazza Tales, published by Dix & Edwards; and Cozzens's The Sparrowgrass Papers, published by Derby & Jackson.

"New Books" for sale by P. Allen & Son in Pittsfield, MA
Pittsfield Sun - January 15, 1857 via GenealogyBank
As owner and editor of Cozzens Wine Press (highly regarded by Frank Luther Mott in A History of American Magazines), Cozzens seems an ideal candidate for Melville's imaginary Burgundy Club--alternatively named "Falernian Old Fellows' Club" in one manuscript draft, Houghton Library, Harvard University MS Am 188 (386.C.I.5) as discussed in the Editorial Appendix for Parthenope in the 2017 Northwestern-Newberry Edition of Billy Budd, Sailor and Other Uncompleted Writings, pages 666-7.

In The Raven and The Whale (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1956), Perry Miller correctly identified Cozzens as the author of remarks on Mardi in Graham's. As Miller knew without saying exactly how, Cozzens had received his reading copy from Lewis Gaylord Clark, then editor of The Knickerbocker:
Clark thought it so beneath contempt as not to deserve notice, and gave his copy to Cozzens, who in Graham's, under his pseudonym of "Richard Haywarde," found some particles of gold in a network of affectation. (248-9)
Miller did not cite his source for the gift of Mardi to Cozzens. More generally, Miller did acknowledge reliance on The Melville Log, 2 vols. (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1951), where Jay Leyda had recorded that on April 27, 1849 "Lewis Gaylord Clark, editor of The Knickerbocker, presents a copy of Mardi to Frederick S. Cozzens" (Volume 1, page 301).

Hugh Hetherington approved the attribution in Melville's Reviewers, British and American, 1846-1891 (University of North Carolina Press, 1961), page 124:
But the reaction of Frederick S. Cozzens (under the pseudonym Richard Haywarde) in a column in the August Graham's Magazine was mixed and exasperated: "Confound the book! there are such beautiful Aurora-flashes of light in it that you can almost forgive the puerilities — it is a great net-work of affectation, with some genuine gold shining through the interstices . . ." (Cozzens was the Knickerbocker set's authority on wine).
In The Melville Log (vol. 1, page 375) Jay Leyda proposed Cozzens as also the author, possibly, of the unsigned review of White-Jacket in The Knickerbocker for May 1850. Leyda's conjecture is reported in The Recognition of Herman Melville, edited by Hershel Parker (University of Michigan Press, 1967). There Parker notes also that Perry Miller attributed the White-Jacket review to Lewis Gaylord Clark. The Knickerbocker review of White-Jacket is ascribed to Frederick Swartwout Cozzens without Leyda's qualifying question mark by Watson G. Branch in Herman Melville: The Critical Heritage (Routledge, 1974), page 235.
The Knickerbocker review of White-Jacket is accepted as Cozzens's and reprinted in Bloom's Classic Critical Views: Herman Melville, ed. Harold Bloom and Tony McGowan (Chelsea House Publications, 2008), pages 62-63. However, no external documentary evidence has yet been adduced for Cozzens's authorship of the White-Jacket review. Perry Miller may have been right, again, in assuming that Clark wrote it.

As Miller and Hetherington each observed, Cozzens's authorship of the bookish commentary on Mardi in Graham's magazine for August 1849 is established by the use of his known pseudonym, "Richard Haywarde." The closing signature, "Richard Haywarde" does not appear in Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews, where only the first half of the "Lender's Books" article, with matter directly pertaining to Melville and Mardi, is reprinted. Over the same pseudonym, Cozzens wrote articles for The Knickerbocker and other periodicals, some of which were collected in the 1853 volume, Prismatics by Richard Haywarde. The Literary World (April 23, 1853) classed Prismatics as a type of "genial, humorous, and warm-hearted" writing after the manner of Washington Irving. In the first paragraph, the reviewer openly called it "Frederick Cozzens's 'Prismatics' " (page 328).

The choice of pseudonyms honored one of Cozzens's ancestors. As Cozzens informed Lewis Gaylord Clark on June 23, 1855, "Richard Haywarde was my father's maternal great grandfather."
Clark forwarded the letter to Rufus W. Griswold who adapted the information for a page on Cozzens in the updated Poets and Poetry of America (Philadelphia, 1856).

For anybody who still did not know who "Richard Haywarde" was, The Knickerbocker for May 1860 officially linked Cozzens to his nom de plume. With extreme admiration, the Editor's Table surveys past contributions by Cozzens, aka Richard Haywarde. The first was a poem titled Stanzas: Worship, printed over the humble initial "C." in the December 1847 issue of The Knickerbocker. Cozzens's second contribution to be published in The Knickerbocker was a prose sketch, Thoughts from the Top of Trinity, written under the pseudonym Richard Haywarde and published in the July 1848 issue.

Cozzens is duly identified as Richard Haywarde in William Cushing, Initials and Pseudonyms: A Dictionary of Literary Disguises, Volume 1 (New York, 1885), page 127.

Part of the Charvat Collection of American Fiction, Cozzens's Mardi is now held by The Ohio State University in the Rare Books & Manuscripts Library, catalog number PS2384 .M3 V1 and V2. Both volumes of the 1849 first American edition are listed in the OSU Library Catalog.
OSU also has the 1849 British edition of Mardi, published in three volumes by Richard Bentley. To date, however, only the first volume of the American edition is Google-digitized and accessible online courtesy of HathiTrust Digital Library.
The Mardi that Cozzens used bears the bookplate of esteemed collector Carroll Atwood Wilson. The set was well described in Atwood's posthumously published work, Thirteen Author Collections of the Nineteenth Century, 2 vols., ed. Jean C. S. Wilson and David A. Randall (Privately printed for Charles Scribner's Sons, 1950).
... 2 Vols. New York, 1849. Of considerable association interest, the end-paper of Vol. I bearing a presentation inscription from Lewis Gaylord Clark, the editor of the Knickerbocker Magazine, to F. S. Cozzens, author of the Sparrowgrass Papers, etc. The end-paper of Vol. II has the same inscription, with initials only, but a railway man named Ruben McGrath has added pencil inscriptions therein, alleging that he was born in 1492 and other like matter. The inscription is dated April 27, 1849, the book having been published April 14.
Inscription in Mardi: and a Voyage Thither (1849). PS2384 .M3 1849 v1
 from the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library of The Ohio State University Libraries

Cozzens plainly had this particular copy of Mardi, Volume 1 before him while writing the article, "Lender's Books--No. II" for the August 1849 issue of Graham's. In the persona of "Richard Haywarde" Cozzens acknowledges his review-copy as
"the gift of my warm-hearted friend, L. G. C. of the Knickerbocker"
and the OSU Mardi is inscribed in the first volume to "F. S. Cozzens / With kind regards of / His Friend / L. Gaylord Clark." As Wilson noted, the inscription from Clark to Cozzens is dated April 27, 1849.
As shown below, all but one of Richard Haywarde's quotations from Mardi are marked in the OSU copy inscribed to F. S. Cozzens. Turning to chapter 50, Yillah in Ardair, Haywarde recasts Melville's first prose sentence as poetry. The hexameter form and romantic content of the resulting verses remind Haywarde of Longfellow's Evangeline, a tale of Acadie (1847). Haywarde's comparison is matched in the marginalia on this page of Cozzens's Mardi. In the left margin, Melville's first sentence in chapter 50 is marked with a vertical pencil line. Next to the penciled line is the added word "Evangeline," apparently in the handwriting of Ferderic S. Cozzens. To compare handwriting, see the autograph letter from Cozzens to Lewis Gaylord Clark in the Griswold Collection, accessible in Massachusetts Collections Online via Digital Commonwealth:
Cozzens, Frederic S. (Frederic Swartwout), and Lewis Gaylord Clark. Frederick Swartwout Cozzens, Yonkers, NY., autograph letter signed to [Lewis Gaylord?] Clark, 23 June 1855. 23 Jun 1855. Web. 21 Oct 2019. <>.
Herman Melville's copy of Evangeline, the 1848 Ticknor edition, was given to him by Hope Savage Shaw and is now at Harvard, Houghton Library, GEN *AC85 M4977 Zz848ℓ . Melville's Evangeline is Sealts Number 332 in the Online Catalog at Melville's Marginalia Online. Cozzens would pen his own "Evangeliad" in Acadia, or, A Month with the Blue Noses (1859).

The untitled first number of "Lender's Books" sampled poetry by Dante, Milton, Coleridge and Wordsworth among others, and was published in the form of a letter signed "Richard Haywarde" in the May 1849 issue of Graham's American Monthly Magazine, pages 333-4. Transcribed below, the second number of "Lender's Books" appeared in Graham's for August 1849. Images from Herman Melville's Mardi: and a Voyage Thither (1849) Vol. 1 are from the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library of The Ohio State University Libraries. For expert assistance with locating and reproducing these images for use on Melvilliana, I am grateful to Rebecca Jewett and Orville Martin at Thompson Library Special Collections.


By my right hand, Graham: by my right hand, which for odd years hath traveled and travailed over much foolscap, (and under much fool's-cap quoth the fiend,) I am more and more convinced of the truth of the words of the preacher, “Vanity of vanities: all is vanity." I have just laid aside “Mardi,” (the gift of my warm-hearted friend, L. G. C. of the Knickerbocker,) it lies atop of old Du Bartas and some withered budlets of forget-me-not, and in like manner I sit with a few fragmentaries of old literature at bottom for my primiter, some tender remembrances for my secondary, and for the alluvial stratum of my pericranicks (as gentle Charles hath it) these fripperies by the Author of Typee. Confound the book! there are such beautiful Aurora-flashes of light in it that you can almost forgive the puerilities—it is a great net-work of affectation, with some genuine gold shining through the interstices.
Let us turn over the leaves a little–hear ye now—
“And what to me thus pining for some one to page me a quotation from Burton on Blue-Devils.” V. I. p. 15. [marked]
 What is paging a quotation ?
“Anoint the ropes and they will travel deftly through the subtle windings of the blocks.” p 33. [marked]
Why not say—“apply some oleaginous substance to the ambulatory cords, and prevent the inarticulate dissonance caused by the inharmonious attrition of the flaxen fibres against the ligneous particles?”
But this passage I especially commend:
“Good old Arcturion: Maternal craft, that rocked me so often in thy heart of oak, I grieve to tell how I deserted thee on the broad deep. (‘Maternal craft—maternal old oaken-hearted craft—maternal old oaken-cradle hearted craft' is good!) So far from home, with such a motley crew, so many islands, whose heathen babble echoing through thy Christian hull must have grated harshly on every carline.” p. 38.
Mardi: and a Voyage Thither (1849) volume 1, page 38. PS2384 .M3 1849 v.1
from the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library of The Ohio State University Libraries
“Many there are who can fall,” says Martinus Scriblerius, “but few can arrive at the felicity of falling gracefully.
How beautifully he embellishes the most commonplace ideas:
“Among savages, severe personal injuries are, for the most part, accounted but trifles. When a European would be taking to his couch in despair the savage would disdain to recline.” p. 96. [marked]
“At Ravavai I had stepped ashore some few months previous; and now was embarked on a cruise for the whale, whose brain enlightens the world!” p. 1. [not marked]
Jarl steals a keg of tobacco —
“From the Arcturion he had brought along with him a small half keg, at bottom impacted with a solitary layer of sable Negrohead, fossil-marked, like the primary stratum of the geologists.” (Ahem! primary stratum fossil marked !) p. 68. [marked]
He surmiseth that Samoa likes to get swipesy—
“Nor did I doubt but that the Upoluan, like all Polynesians, much loved getting high of head; and in that state would be more intractable than a Black Forest boar.” [page 130, marked]
Sometimes he breaks into hexameter:
“In the verdant glen of Ardair, far in the silent interior of Amma,
Shut in by hoar old cliffs, Yillah the maiden abode.”
This reminds one of Evangeline —
"In the Acadian land, on the shores of the basin of Minos,
Distant, secluded, still, the little village of Grand Pré
Lay in the fruitful valley.”
Mardi: and a Voyage Thither (1849) volume 1, page 183. PS2384 .M3 1849 v.1
from the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library of The Ohio State University Libraries
Let us hexametrize another passage, and we will have done with these fopperies:
“ 'Tis no great valor to perish sword in hand, and bravado
On lip; cased all in panoply complete. For even the alli-
Gator dies in his mail, and the sword-fish never surrenders.
To expire, mild-eyed, in one's bed, transcends the death [of Epam-
Inondas."p.46. [marked]
I have done with Mardi—one is reminded in reading it (after Typee) that "there is as much skill in making dikes as in raising mounts—there is an art of diving as well as flying,” [Pope, on the Art of Bathos] and who knows but what the author, after attaining a comfortable elevation by his former works, may not have made this plunge on purpose, as men do who climb to the top of a high mast that they may dive the deeper.
 . . . . . . . . . .
Now do those crushed, withered budlets of forget-me-not, peeping from under the book covers, remind me of those beautiful hope-flowers that opened their pale blue eyes in the morning of my life, and bloomed and drooped— and passed away—
“How fair was then the flower— the tree :
How silver-sweet the fountain's fall !
The soulless had a soul to me !
My life its own life lent to all!

The universe of things seemed swelling
The panting heart to burst its bound,
And wandering fancy found a dwelling
In every shape, thought, deed and sound.
Germed in the mystic buds, reposing,
A whole creation slumbered mute;
Alas! when from the buds unclosing,
How scant and blighted sprung the fruit!’’
Alas! alas! young life, and young hopes are not perennials; even in the lofty conservatories and crystal hothouses of wealth and station they flush into a sickly existence, and then perish like the meanest flower by the wayside. Did it ever strike you how much we are alike in this particular? Every one looking back upon his past life as the shipwrecked merchant looks upon the broad sea that hath swallowed up irretrievable treasures. Do you believe that if one had the power of investing his new created babes with a course of life, that he would say, “Do as I have done—pass through my joys and my afflictions, and in the experience of my experience you will be happy!” Do you believe that any one—even the wisest, the purest, the best could say this? By my faith, I do not! And the great focal-glass of a common destiny brings down prismatic, many-hued humanity to a point hue, as a convex lens gathers and concentrates prism-bundles of light and heat from the broad disk of the sun. Human suffering is the chord universal that swells from the vibration of numberless strings.
“Thou seest we are not all alone unhappy;
This vast and universal theatre
Contains more woful pageants than the scene
Whereon we play—”
But, “Mardi” and forget-me-nots have spoiled three good sheets of foolscap, and I fear that I am too much is the sentimental vein; let me therefore conclude with quoting a sweet little piece of philosophy, and lay aside these lender’s books for a period.
“A swallow in the spring
Came to our granary, and 'neath the eaves
Essayed to make a nest, and then did bring
Wet earth, and straw, and leaves.

Day after day she toiled
With patient heart; but ere her work was crowned
Some sad mishap the tiny fabric spoiled,
And dashed it to the ground.

She found the ruin wrought
But, not cast down, forth from the place she flew,
And, with her mate, fresh earth and grasses brought,
And built her nest anew.

But scarcely had she placed
The last soft feather on its ample floor,
When wicked hand, or chance, again laid waste,
And wrought the ruin o’er. 
But still her heart she kept,
And toiled again; and last night, hearing calls,
I looked, and lo! three little swallows slept
Within the earth-made walls.

What truth is here, O man!
Hath hope been smitten in its early dawn!
Have clouds o'ercast thy purpose, trust or plan?
Have FAITH and struggle on!" [Richard Salter Storrs Andros]

Here endeth the second fith.
RICHARD HAYWARDE. [Frederic Swartwout Cozzens]
Graham's American Monthly Magazine had already published a formal review of Mardi in the June 1849 issue. Author unknown.
Mardi, and a Voyage Thither. By Herman Melville. New York : Harper & Brothers. 2 vols. 12mo.

Mr. Melville has given us here an acknowledged romance, and those who doubted the veracity of “Typee” and “Omoo,” may now have an opportunity of noticing the difference between Mr. Melville recording what he has observed, and Mr. Melville recording what he has imagined. It appears to us that the two processes in the author’s mind have little in common, and the best evidence of the truthfulness of his former books is the decidedly romantic character of much of the present.

“Mardi” is altogether the most striking work which Mr. Melville has produced, exhibiting a range of learning, a fluency of fancy, and an originality of thought and diction, of which “Typee,” with all its distinctness and luxuriance of description, gave little evidence. At the same time it has defects indicating that the author has not yet reached the limits of his capacity, and that we may hope from him works better even than the present. “Mardi” is of the composite order of mental architecture, and the various rich materials which constitute it are not sufficiently harmonized to produce unity of effect. It has chapters of description, sketches of character, flashes of fanciful exaggeration, and capital audacities of satire, which are inimitable, but confusion, rather than fusion, characterizes the book as a whole. Of the two volumes the first is by far the best, but both contain abundaut evidence of the richness, strength and independence of the author's mind, and are full of those magical touches which indicate original genius.

1 comment:

  1. Scott, I am so very glad you are young and carrying on the task Jay Leyda laid out! Hurray, Huzza, Hurrah!