Friday, January 5, 2024


Edward R. Hagemann, Marine Corps officer and veteran of the Pacific Theater of World War II, reviewing Hershel Parker's compilation The Recognition of Herman Melville (University of Michigan Press, 1967) in the Louisville Courier-Journal on September 17, 1967:

THERE IS present today in American literature, as taught in American colleges, an unrivaled quadrumvirate of writers, Hawthorne, Melville, Twain and James, who have written (according to the writ of teachers) a tetrad of novels, "The Scarlet Letter," "Moby-Dick," "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," and 'The Ambassadors," that demands nothing short of tetratheism from the novice and the adept. That this was not always the case with one member of the quadrumvirate is demonstrable in Prof. Hershel Parker's "The Recognition of Herman Melville," a selection of criticism of most of his work since 1846, divided into four parts, "Reviews and Early Appraisals," "Academic Neglect," "The Melville Revival," and "Academic Recognition." ...

... Prof. Parker has performed a specially valuable task in bringing together for the most part little-known criticism from the 19th century. A few essays from the 20th century are not known either, but too many, particularly from 1938 onward, are easily available elsewhere. Therefore, Prof. Milton R. Stern's "Discussions of Moby-Dick" (Heath, 1960) is still valuable.

The spadework for "Recognition" was done by Prof. Hugh W. Hetherington in his "Melville's Reviewers" (1961) and Parker should have said so. Therefore, there is nothing new about the five reviews of "Moby-Dick" with the fine exception of William T. Porter's newly discovered piece in the "Spirit of the Times."
17 Sep 1967, Sun The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky)

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