Shiloh Herman Melville Essay

Third, both came from families that had distinguished themselves in colonial or Revolutionary-era history.

Fourth, both had traditions of seafaring in their families (Hayford, "Hawthorne, Melville, and the Sea").

In the process, Hawthorne is dropping "germinous seeds" into his soul: "He expands and deepens down, the more I contemplate him" (250).

Melville then discusses two works in particular, "Young Goodman Brown" and "A Select Party," that he had not read yet when writing his previous words.

"Certain it is, however, that this great power of blackness in him derives its force from its appeals to that Calvinistic sense of Innate Depravity and Original Sin, from whose visitations, in some shape or other, no deeply thinking mind is always and wholly free.

Shiloh Herman Melville Essay

For, in certain moods, no man can weigh this world, without throwing in something, somehow like Original Sin, to strike the uneven balance" ( 243).On the other hand, salient differences in the personalities of Melville and Hawthorne would contribute both to the initial flourishing and eventual demise of the friendship; for whereas Melville was an emotional enthusiast engaged in an ongoing ecumenical quest for religious and philosophical truths, Hawthorne was both temperamentally reserved and more conservative on many of the important religious and social issues of the day.However one chooses to assess the nature and development of the Melville-Hawthorne friendship, we must recognize that from Melville's perspective the relationship from the beginning had a sacramental quality that formed part of Melville's ongoing creative revaluation of Christianity.The front page of this popular weekly provides an example of 1860s war reporting and a reminder that, in the fall of 1862, the Union fought two wars, one against the Confederates and another against Dakota Indians in Minnesota.The friendship of Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne has long fascinated critics and biographers of both authors, as well as anyone interested in the history of American literature and the genesis of one of its supreme masterworks, , dedicated to Hawthorne as a token of Melville's admiration for the older writer's "genius." The story of their first meeting at a literary picnic on 5 August 1850 and their subsequent sixteen-month friendship while both were residents in the Berkshires has often been told, including (on Melville's side) the friendship's initial heady intellectual exchange, creative fertilization, and confessional urgency, to be followed by gradual estrangement, disillusionment, and a long-term ambivalence.Of prime importance to Melville was his belief that in Hawthorne he had found a writer of profound intellectual and emotional depth; in particular, a writer who—unlike most of his contemporaries—shared his vision of the darker forces shaping human destiny.The signs of such an underlying agenda are evident in Melville's enthusiastic review of Hawthorne's and the marginalia in his copy of the book, as well as in the surviving correspondence from Melville to Hawthorne in which the younger author frequently expresses his "infinite fraternity of feeling" with his older contemporary ( on 18 July 1850, from his Aunt Mary Melvill at his uncle Thomas's home in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, less than three weeks before he would meet Hawthorne in person on 5 August.Fifth, both had close personal or family ties to the Democratic party.And sixth, both had lost their fathers at an early age and were raised by grieving mothers in straitened economic circumstances (Parker, Mellow).Melville’s reference to "blackness" in the Mosses review was probably adapted from Jude 13, in which sinners are called “wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever." As perhaps the most quoted assertion in the essay, Melville's claims about Hawthorne's "power of blackness" here need to be understood as implying both an aesthetic and a moral dimension.The aesthetic dimension is the author's equation of Hawthorne's blackness with the painterly technique of chiaroscuro (with its evocation of contemporary concepts of the sublime and picturesque); the moral aspect stems from its reliance on the Calvinist and Augustinian concepts of Original Sin, ultimately based on the doctrines of St. In the reviewer's estimation, Hawthorne's recurrent exploration of moral evil in his writings is one of his greatest strengths, and Melville claims that it is this blackness of Hawthorne that magically "fixes and fascinates" him ( 244); moreover, it is this same blackness that Shakespeare uses for the "infinite obscure of his back-ground." For it is not Shakespeare's crowd-pleasing theatrical virtuosity that makes for his high reputation among more thoughtful individuals.


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