|Convent of Santa Saba |
via The New York Public Library Digital Collections
Herman Melville's religious epic Clarel was first published by G. P. Putnam's Sons in June 1876. Months before, the work had been announced in the New York press as forthcoming. As things turned out, however, the earliest notices of Melville's new "poem on the Holy Land" were premature.
The announcement in Publishers' Weekly on January 15, 1876 indicated a different working title, with no mention of "Clarel," the name of Melville's student-quester:
A Poem on the Holy Land, Narrative and Descriptive. By Herman Melville.
The earliest newspaper notices picked up on the interesting generic characterization of Melville's new poem as "narrative and descriptive":
"A narrative and descriptive poem on the Holy Land, by Herman Melville, is in press by G. P. Putnam's Sons." -- New York Daily Tribune, January 12, 1876.
"A narrative and descriptive poem on the Holy Land, by Herman Melville, is in press by G. P. Putnam's Sons."-- Syracuse NY Daily Journal, January 15, 1876.
In The American Bookseller for March 1, 1876, Putnam's Sons announced the title as "The Holy Land. A Narrative Poem."
The Christian Union - January 19, 1876
"Herman Melville, who is best known in literature by his fascinating sea-stories, has astonished his many admirers by writing a poem on the Holy Land, which the Messrs. Putnam will shortly publish." -- The Christian Union, January 19, 1876."A narrative and descriptive poem on the Holy Land, by Herman Melville, is in press by G. P. Putnam's Sons."-- Chicago Tribune, January 22, 1876
-- New York Herald, January 31, 1876.
Later in March Melville's publisher got the eponymous title right:
Nevertheless, in April another announcement, still pre-publication, gave the title of Melville's forthcoming work as "Clara":Mr. Herman Melville's narrative poem of a pilgrimage in the Holy Land, called "Clarel," will introduce him afresh to a new generation of readers.
-- Publishers' Weekly, March 11, 1876.
Clara. A Pilgrimage in the Holy Land. A Narrative Poem. By HERMAN MELVILLE. 2 VOLS., 12mo, cloth, extra, $3. --Publisher's Weekly, April 22, 1876.
Melville's verse epic Clarel, A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land was officially published on June 7, 1876 according to this advertisement in the New York Evening Post:
New York Evening Post - June 7, 1876
via Genealogy Bank
- Clarel, notices in the Cincinnati Commercial