Thursday, September 30, 2021


Frank Laurence Lucas, 2 Lt Royal West Kent Regt., 1914
"... Here ["Sheridan's Ride" in Battle-Pieces and "Far Off-Shore" in John Marr] is an ear, and a far from unhappy boldness; further, whatever Melville's literary decay, the prose 'Supplement to the Battle Pieces,' in which he rams a little sense down the throats of the type of fool, common then as now, who professed moral indignation because the beaten enemy 'showed no penitence,' does prove that his sense and his humanity remained as sound as ever." 
-- Authors Dead and Living, page 110.

Most of the chapter on Herman Melville in Authors Dead and Living by Frank Laurence Lucas originally appeared in The New Statesman (April 1, 1922), as a review of Raymond M. Weaver's biography Herman Melville, Mariner and Mystic. However, the comment quoted above on Melville's best verses, and the prose supplement to Battle-Pieces, did not appear in the New Statesman version.

Authors Dead and Living (London: Chatto & Windus, 1926) is digitized and accessible for borrowing on the great Internet Archive.
Melville's writings are in the public domain, including the Civil War poems and prose supplement comprising Battle-Pieces and Aspects of The War (New York: Harper & Brothers,1866).

CMP 304 - Eric July - Vaccine Skepticism in the NBA and Among Healthcare...

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Bartleby in Burlington

From the Iowa State Gazette of December 7, 1853; found on NewspaperArchive:

Putnam's Monthly.

The December number of this valuable publication has been laid upon our table by a friend, and we are led to to the opinion after a hasty perusal of its contents, that its wide spread and rapidly increasing popularity, may be attributed to the superior reading matter contained in its pages. In this number is concluded "Bartleby, the Scrivener," which is a very interesting account of a strange being who occupied a corner in a Lawyer's office in the city of New York—and illustrates how strangely some strange men may live in the great city of Gotham. Bartleby always would "prefer not to"—and in this respect resembles some persons we know of not a thousand miles from here. "Wensley" is another interesting article concluded in this number, and to those who have read the former numbers the conclusion will be delightful. There are many other ably written and very interesting articles in this number, too numerous for us to name, but suffice for the present to say that this work is well worthy the liberal support of a reading people. It has not, like too many others, established its character with pictures, and only resorts to that fashion when science and art require an elegant illustration. When our January number arrives we will give it a more extensive review. --Burlington, Iowa State Gazette, December 7, 1853. 
The Iowa State Gazette was at this time a Democratic weekly newspaper, published every Wednesday. Since 1851 the State Gazette had been edited by Dr. Harvey, remembered as "an eminent citizen of Burlington" and "a man of intelligence and convictions" in one early History of Des Moines County, Iowa.

As ID'd by Frank Luther Mott, Edmund Quincy wrote the serial novel Wensley. Subtitled A Story Without A Moral, Quincy's "Wensley" originally appeared in Volume 2 of Putnam's Monthly Magazine, fourteen chapters in six installments: 

The book version of Wensley was published in 1854 by Ticknor and Fields.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Zuby - Real (Official Music Video)

Sketches from Melville's ENCANTADAS reprinted in 19th century newspapers

Bidwell's Bar, Butte County. Henry Rust Mighels, 1856
via California State Library

Herman Melville's tale of a brave Peruvian lady named Hunilla first appeared in the April 1854 issue of Putnam's Monthly Magazine under the title "Norfolk Isle and the Chola Widow." Published there as "Sketch Ninth," the story of Hunilla and her heroic endurance of abandonment, bereavement, and God knows what else was really "Sketch Eighth" in Melville's magazine series "The Encantadas." Later the Hunilla sketch was reprinted on pages 346-372 of The Piazza Tales (1856), with the rest of the sketches (now correctly numbered) that made up the series. Editorial Notes on The Encantadas (page 601) in the 1987 Northwestern-Newberry edition The Piazza Tales and Other Prose Pieces, 1839-1860 indicate 
No known manuscript, and no later printing in Melville's lifetime

Turns out, however, there were later printings of some Encantadas sketches in Melville's lifetime. For one, all of the Hunilla sketch was reprinted from Putnam's magazine in a California gold-mining newspaper, as Melvilliana has discovered at no little expense, after renewing our lapsed subscription to NewspaperArchive. Under the major heading "The Story," the pathetic tale of Hunilla appeared in the Butte Record (Bidwell, Butte County, California) on October 7, 1855. 

Bidwell Bar (or Bidwell's Bar) was the first of the great mining camps that were settled in Feather River country of Central California. -- Western Mining History

As in Putnam's, the Bidwell, California reprinting is titled "NORFOLK ISLE AND THE CHOLA WIDOW." Also as in Putnam's, "Norfolk Isle" begins with uncredited epigraphs that Melville adapted from Spenser's The Faerie Queene and the Mynstrelles Songe in Chatterton's Ælla. Not included, the extra epigraph from Dirge in Cymbeline by William Collins that Melville would add in the book version.

Butte Record (Bidwell, Butte County, Calif.)
October 27, 1855
The Butte Record was then owned and edited by George H. Crosette.

South of Butte and even further west, the opening sketch from the March 1854 issue of Putnam's Monthly Magazine appeared in the California Chronicle of April 13, 1854 under the heading 
The Encantadas, or Enchanted Isles.


In added parentheses, this San Francisco version of Sketch First helpfully locates Melville's Encantadas among the "Gallapagos" islands. Melville's pseudonym Salvator R. Tarnmoor (used at the start of each installment in the magazine series but not in the book version) has been omitted in the Chronicle reprinting. At the end of the sketch, the Chronicle credits Putnam's without naming any author. 

San Francisco California Chronicle
April 13, 1854 

Another previously unknown extract from "The Encantadas" is the reprinting of Sketch Third in the Susquehanna Register on March 9, 1854. The guided tour of Rock Redondo originally appeared in the March 1854 issue of Putnam's Monthly Magazine. Crediting "Putnam's Monthly," the Montrose, Pennsylvania newspaper gave the main text of Melville's descriptive sketch, minus epigraphs, under the heading "The Encantadas, or Enchanted Isles." 

Susquehanna Register (Montrose, Pennsylvania)
March 9, 1854

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Newburyport notice of THE CONFIDENCE-MAN

This item is reprinted on page 498 in Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews, edited by Brian Higgins and Hershel Parker (Cambridge University Press, 1995; paperback 2009).

The Confidence Man His Masquerade By Herman Melville New York, Dix, Edwards & Co. For sale by M O Hall. 

Mr Melville is a writer of no ordinary talent. His former works were read with an interest that sharpened the appetite for almost anything his pen might indite. Though the "Confidence Man" is a book exhibiting close observations of human nature and a judicious and careful estimate of human virtues and frailties, we cannot accord to it the interest possessed by his less pretentious stories. It differs materially in manner from his other books, and lacks in geniality. Its philosophy is of a character that perhaps calls for too much exertion to fully enjoy, and the agents used in presenting it are of a class that seem to forbid an acquaintance.-- 

However, many would regard the book more favorably, and undoubtedly award to it high praise.

 -- Newburyport, Massachusetts Daily Herald, April 22, 1857; now accessible with newly added titles on NewspaperArchive.

 Also available in Digital Archives of the Newburyport Public Library:

The Newburyport Daily Herald was then edited by George J. L. Colby and Joseph B. Morss. According to his obituary in the Boston Globe (December 1, 1890), Colby once was employed "in the Salem custom house with Nathaniel Hawthorne." The 1890 obit identifies Colby as "principal editorial writer" for the Daily Herald "down to 1869."

Related post:

Newburyport Daily Herald, notice of THE PIAZZA TALES

Not collected in Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews, edited by Brian Higgins and Hershel Parker (Cambridge University Press, 1995; paperback 2009). Contemporary Reviews has one item from the Newburyport Daily Herald, the notice of The Confidence-Man transcribed on page 498.

From the Newburyport Daily Herald of June 2, 1856; found with recently added titles on NewspaperArchive. Also accessible in Digital Archives of the Newburyport Public Library: 
The Daily Herald was then edited in Newburyport, Massachusetts by George J. L. Colby and Joseph B. Morss. According to his obituary in the Boston Globe (December 1, 1890), Colby "was in the Salem custom house with Nathaniel Hawthorne." 


The Piazza Tales. By Herman Melville. New York Dix & Edwards. For sale by Moulton & Clark.
Mr Melville is a writer who never fails in giving his readers a good entertainment. In the present instance he has given us a series of magical sketches, which bear the marks of a skilful pencil. Among the pleasant characters in this group, the two first are most pleasing to us; and particularly do we admire that of Bartleby, so incomprehensibly mysterious, and so indefatigable in his attachments. The old Conveyancer has our gratitude for his forbearance, which so fully developed the characteristics of the scriviner. We know of no pleasanter way of spending a few hours, than in devoting them to a perusal of The Piazza Tales. 
-- Newburyport MA Daily Herald, June 2, 1856.

By "characters" the reviewer means something like "sketches," taking the word character in the old fashioned sense of 

An account, description, or representation of any thing, exhibiting its qualities and the circumstances affecting it.  -- Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language.

The "old Conveyancer" is the narrator of Bartleby, the "elderly" lawyer employed in better days as "a conveyancer and title hunter, and drawer-up of recondite documents of all sorts." 

01 Dec 1890, Mon The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts)
Related post:

Fragments from a Writing Desk: "The Facts of Lives"--letter in TLS 17 September 2021

There's the thread! 

Fragments from a Writing Desk: "The Facts of Lives"--letter in TLS 17 September 2021:  

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

One part genius to three parts melodramatic rant

Here and there are some essays on prose writers, including one on Herman Melville, whose “Moby Dick,” which is one part genius to three parts melodramatic rant, Mr. Lucas contrives vastly to over-estimate. 
-- J. B. Priestley, review of F. L. Lucas, Authors Dead and Living (London: Chatto & Windus, 1926) in the London Daily News, March 12, 1926. 

Literature and Western Man (Harper & Brothers, 1960) contains Priestley's longer, later take on Moby-Dick as accidentally good in places, more symbolical than allegorical. Excerpted on pages 271-272 in Moby-Dick as Doubloon, edited by Hershel Parker and Harrison Hayford (W. W. Norton & Company, 1970). As documented by Andrew N. Rubin, Orwell considered Priestley "very anti-USA." which would explain the enduring hostility to Melville and his glorious allegory of freedom.

Rubin, Andrew N., and أندرو روبين. “Orwell and Empire: Anti-Communism and the Globalization of Literature / أورويل والٳمبراطورية: مناهضة الشيوعية وعولمة الأدب.” Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, no. 28 (2008): 75–101.

Authors Dead and Living by F. L. Lucas is digitized and accessible for borrowing on the great Internet Archive where you can read the chapter on Herman Melville and decide for yourself how far Lucas over or under-prized Moby-Dick.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Two stray notes on “Moby-Dick” by William Logan

Two stray notes on “Moby-Dick” by William Logan: William Logan on contemporary reviews of Moby-Dick and Melville’s journey on the Acushnet.

Lady from Maine harpoons aggressor on train

with all the gusto of one of Melville's whalers after "Moby Dick."

As previously reported on Melvilliana, the New York correspondent for The Daily Pittsburgh Gazette gave a brief but favorable notice of Moby-Dick in his letter of November 18, 1851, signed "C." and published in the Gazette on November 22, 1851. 

Turns out, this "C." still had Melville's 1851 epic on his mind in June of the following year. Finding humor in the story of a thwarted sexual assault, the New York correspondent tells how a resourceful young lady from Maine stabbed her attacker with a silver brooch or stickpin, "with all the gusto of one of Melville's whalers after 'Moby Dick.'" From the Daily Pittsburgh Gazette of June 8, 1852; found on

Daily Pittsburgh Gazette - June 8, 1852

Speaking of travelling reminds me to relate an occurrence that happened to a gentleman lately en route for Pittsburgh. One night while crossing the mountains in the coach, he chanced to find at his side a young lady, the neice of an ex-Governor of Maine, also bound west to take charge of the education of a family of girls.-- The gentleman wishing to make himself agreeable, gently insinuated his arm round the lady, and began to caress and embrace her in the most emphatic manner. The lady, with her disengaged hand, rapidly sought that woman's weapon, a pin, but finding none, took from her shawl the silver arrow which fastened it at her throat, and with all the gusto of one of Melville's whalers after "Moby Dick," plunged the arrow of punishment deep into the kind gentleman's arm, causing him to withdraw it with as much rapidity as was convenient. The next morning a very meek looking booby was at her side, and she recommends to all 'unprotected females,' who cross the mountains, pins! She is by education and association qualified to grace any station an American lady may be called to, be it the court of St. James, or the Tuilleries, and should some western gentleman get her consent to remain, he will find Maine produces women of worth as well as stringent liquor laws.

-- "FROM NEW YORK." Letter from "C." dated June 5, 1852 and published in the Daily Pittsburgh Gazette on June 8, 1852.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Street dance Saturday

This will confound skeptics who doubt that Melvilliana ever gets out.  Authentic video footage by yours truly from the last street dance of the season...

Tasty music by Good For Gary 

Tailwind Juicy IPA by Thunder Brothers Brewery

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Melvilliana: Refresher on heroic measure

Big win for good old New Criticism!

Melvilliana: Refresher on heroic measure: "Let America, then, prize and cherish her writers; yea, let her glorify them." -- A Virginian Spending July in Vermont While we...

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Hey Joe

It's My Own Business

Communism defined in 1849


COMMUNISM DEFINED.-- "The other day," says the Constitutionnel, "a workman was declaiming in the midst of a group against communism. One of the group said, 'You talk against communism, and you do not even know what it is.' The workman said nothing in reply at first, but taking off his blouse he tore it into fragments, and, after giving a portion to each of the persons present, he said, 'Communism, my friends, has for its object to make of what may be very useful to one person a collection of morsels which are useful to nobody.' "

Quoted from the French periodical Le Constitutionnel, this practical illustration of equity under communism appeared in the Liverpool Albion for October 15, 1849, on the same page with a long excerpt from chapter 33 of Melville's Redburn, headed "The Shipping of the Mersey." Found on The British Newspaper Archive. The Albion reprinted additional excerpts from Melville's latest novel on October 22 ("Scenes By the Dockside," from Redburn chapter 34); October 29 ("A Reminiscence" from Redburn chapter 36); November 5, 1849 ("Dockside Beggars" from Redburn chapter 38); November 12 ("Shipping a Dead Sailor" from Redburn chapter 47 and "Evading the Customs" from Redburn chapter 40); and November 19, 1849 ("Dockside Horses" also from Redburn chapter 40).

Friday, September 3, 2021


Lyrics for Otis Redding's Freedom paean SHOUT BAMALAMA can be hard to find. Many internet transcriptions are plainly wrong or nonsensical. Here then is my hopefully improved version based on the great 1961 Confederate/Orbit recording. Shout Bamalama has been covered by Mickey Murray, Eddie Hinton, Wet Willie, and the Detroit Cobras among others. In Atlanta long ago I got to hear Joel Murphy tear it up with the Shadows at Blind Willie's
Hey... Bamalama! One time, Bamalama... Okay hold it, hold it right there, hold it, hold it. A-one, a-two, a-one two three four

Deep down in Alabama (shall be free)
I'm shouting Bamalama (shall be free)
Way down in Louisiana (shall be free)
Well, well, well
Nobody's gonna set him down.

Lord have mercy on my soul
How many chickens have I stole
One last night and the night before,
I'm going back and try to get ten, eleven more
I'm steady getting 'em ain't I (shall be free)
I love my chicken baby (shall be free)
Shouting Bamalama (shall be free)
Well well well
Nobody's gonna set him down.

Nine-feet and ten-feet were going 'cross the field
Nine-feet stepped on ten-feet's heel
Ten-feet turned around and nine-feet grinned
His teeth fell out and his tongue stayed in
He's scared to say something (shall be free)
He's got chicken baby (shall be free
Shouting Bamalama (shall be free)
Well well well
Nobody's gonna set him down.
Leo the monkey told the lion one day
A bad little fella coming down your way
They way he talk about your family is a crime and shame [crying shame]
He say your mother is working on a chain gang
She busting bricks now (shall be free)
She steady working hard (shall be free)
Shouting Bamalama (shall be free)

Well, well, well
Nobody's gonna set him down.
The preacher and the deacon were praying one day
Along come a bear coming down their way
The preacher told the deacon to say a prayer
He said, "Lord, a prayer won't kill this bear"
I got to make it baby (shall be free)
Shout Bamalama (shall be free)
I got to run for it (shall be free)
Well, well, well
Nobody's gonna set him down.

He's down in Alabama (shall be free) .... 

In print Jonathan Gould trashed Shout Bamalama as "the low point of Otis Redding's recording career," sadly "compromised by his stubborn dependence on the impersonation of Little Richard." Idiot critics in Melville's day similarly faulted Melville's grand allegory of Freedom for the impersonation of Thomas Carlyle. But Moby-Dick made it to Julliard anyhow, thanks to Stanley Crouch:

Moby-Dick is largely an improvisation in which you hear Herman Melville following his ear through the book.... an extraordinary exhibition of absolute fearlessness.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

My answer to Google

"Get Vaccinated. Wear a Mask. Save Lives."

  1. No.
  2. No.
  3. With pleasure! Go to the gym, stop eating at McDonald's and Pizza Hut. 

Wellek was right

... the New Criticism has stated or reaffirmed many basic truths to which future ages will have to return: the specific nature of the aesthetic transaction, the normative presence of a work of art which cannot be simply battered about and is comparatively independent of its origins and effects....The charge of “elitism” cannot get around the New Critics’ assertion of quality and value. A decision between good and bad art remains the unavoidable duty of criticism. The humanities would abdicate their function in society if they surrendered to a neutral scientism and indifferent relativism or if they succumbed to the imposition of alien norms required by political indoctrination. Particularly on these two fronts the New Critics have waged a valiant fight which, I am afraid, must be fought over again in the future. -- René Wellek

Wellek, René. “The New Criticism: Pro and Contra.” Critical Inquiry vol. 4 no. 4, 1978, pages 611–624 at 624. JSTOR, Accessed 1 Sept. 2021.

The passage is quoted by Cleanth Brooks at the end of his article on The New Criticism in The Sewanee Review, volume 87 number 4, 1979, pages 592–607; also accessible via JSTOR: