Walden Pond - Concord, MA.jpg

Hershel Parker

Hershel Parker’s Melville Biography: An Inside Narrative

MBAIN-500wHershel Parker’s new book, Melville Biography: An Inside Narrative, has finally begun shipping. Click here to order it now at Amazon. Reading it is bound to inspire and challenge all readers, critics, and scholars invested in appreciating and understanding the life and writings of Herman Melville. Though the subject is Melville biography, literary biographers of any subject will find Parker’s intimate, autobiographical account of his decades-long efforts to analyze and assess Melville’s writings in the context of his life and times to be filled with insightful, historiographically framed discussions and analyses related to the art of literary biography.

Here is a full quote from the first Amazon review, by “New Englander” J. O’Connell:

If you have any interest in Melville, Moby-Dick, literary biography … or beautiful, lucid prose, Professor Parker’s magnificent new book is for you. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Imagine: A brilliant scholar who can write! No wonder Parker understands Melville better than any of the many Melvillians working today — he is a fellow writer. The book is chock-full of so many illuminating and fascinating elements. Whether he is explaining to us — always so clearly and entertainingly — what he knows of Melville’s hotel dinner with Hawthorne, at which HM presented one of the first copies of Moby-Dick to its dedicatee, and how he knows it, or elucidating the enormity of the cost HM (and his family) paid for his genius and it manifestation on paper, Parker is always your favorite college lecturer — wise, informed, enthused, reasoned, often funny, and empathetic. He desires to tell you why he loves Melville and why you will, too. Parker also knows the value of archival research — and the hours and miles logged during the creation of his definitive two-volume life of HM are stunning. Mr. Parker has the ability to convey the excitement of the true research scholar in the moment of “the find,” as in this passage: “There will always be a few literary detectives who devote months or years to the pursuit of documents in the confidence that at last they will sit at midnight in a little bare motel room in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and turn through a big shoebox full of what looks like only bills of lading until they spy a blue folded paper, clearly a letter, a letter with the signature `Really Thine, H Melville’…”

Melville, our greatest novelist, deserves Parker, our greatest biographer. My own opinion is that Parker was robbed of the Pulitzer for Herman Melville: A Biography. Is it too much to hope that the Pulitzer committee corrects its mistake by selecting Melville Biography: An Inside Narrative for next year’s prize?

No, not too much to hope — let’s hope. I happily have just received my copy and look forward to sharing my thoughts here as I read again through the chapters that I was fortunate to have read in draft form as well as the new chapters I have yet to read. The notes are copious. Just a glance shows them to be full of important information and challenges.

Share

“Historic Nantucket” – The Melville Issue

NHA-HistoricNantucket-MelvilleIssue-250Just this past Spring 2012, the quarterly “Historic Nantucket,” published by the Nantucket Historical Association, presented a “Melville Issue.” It opens with an editorial overview by Nathaniel Philbrick, Historian and NHA Research Fellow, and features articles by two well-known Melvilleans — Mary K. Bercaw Edwards, University of Connecticut Maritime Studies Professor, and Hershel Parker, author of the definitive, two-volume Melville biography.

In “The Unemployable Herman Melville: ‘Nothing else to do’ but Sign on a Whaleship,” Hershel Parker offers up a detailed biographical narrative analysis of the years surrounding Melville’s decision on 3 January 1841 – at the young age of 21 – to sign on to the Acushnet. Mary K. Edwards provides a historical discussion of the publishing history of Moby-Dick that focuses on selected important editions – especially those featuring illustrations, including the famous 1930 Lakeside Press, Rockwell Kent edition. Both essays are richly illustrated with reproductions of contemporary portraits, contemporary art works, pages from selected illustrated editions of Moby-Dick, and a manuscript page of a 6 October 1840 letter written by Gansevoort Melville, Herman’s brother.

Inserted into Bercaw’s essay is a sidebar by Julie H. B. Stackpole, “A Special Container for the Lakeside Press Moby-Dick” – an account of Rockwell Kent’s involvement in the Lakeside Edition concluding with a description of the “slipcase” she created for the three-volume Lakeside edition she inherited from her patenal grandfather.

To visit the Nantucket Historical Association’s website, click here.

Share

NYRB Review: Hershel Parker’s Melville: The Making of the Poet and Robert Milder’s Exiled Royalties: Melville and the Life We Imagine

Both Hershel Parker and Robert Milder have written in-depth studies of the last three decades of Melville’s life when he concentrated on writing and publishing poetry. Parker does so in the second volume of his Herman Melville: A Biography as well as in his recent Melville: The Making of the Poet. Milder has written of the second half of Melville’s career in various works, most notably for his anthology, Billy Budd, Sailor and Selected Tales, and, more recently, in several of his essays collected in Exiled Royalties: Melville and the Life We Imagine. Generally speaking Parker and Milder take different critical approaches in their studies of the older Melville, his poetry, and the 30 years during which it occupied most of his creative energy and time. But read together Parker and Milder complement one another and give us a comprehensive appreciation and understanding of not only Melville the poet but of his poems as well.

In the June 26, 2008 issue of the New York Review of Books, Christopher Benfey, Mellon Professor of English at Mount Holyoke, reviews both Hershel Parker’s Melville: The Making of the Poet and Robert Milder’s Exiled Royalties: Melville and the Life We Imagine. The opening of Benfey’s review, “Melville’s Second Act,” excerpted on the NYRB website, shows us Melville on a voyage in the summer of 1860, the summer he unsuccessfully attempted to publish his first volume of poetry:

On August 1, 1860, Herman Melville’s forty-first birthday, he was aboard the clipper ship Meteor, captained by his younger brother Thomas, as it made the hazardous passage around Cape Horn bound for San Francisco. A gale arose that day and lasted, as Melville noted in his diary, for three brutal days of ‘snow, rain, hail, sleet, mist, fog, squalls, head-winds, refractory stove, smoky cabin, drunken ship &c &c &c.’ A week later, as strong winds continued unabated, a young sailor from Nantucket was blown from the rigging to the deck and was killed instantly. After the funeral service, presided over by Tom, the body was tipped into the ocean and the blood washed from the deck. ‘All goes on as usual,’ Melville reported, ‘as if nothing had happened—as if I did not know that death is indeed the King of Terrors.’

If you can not find the June 26, 2008 NYRB Review at your bookstore or library, you can click here to read an online version.

Share
Calendar
February 2019
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728  
Archives
Politics, Culture, Philosophy
  • Rachel Maddow
  • Frank Schaeffer
  • Roberto Ruiz

A quote Trump may come to regret: 'I didn't need to do this'Referring to his emergency declaration, Trump admitted, "I didn't need to do this." I [...]

Friday's Campaign Round-Up, 2.15.19Today's installment of campaign-related news items from across the country. [...]

On emergency declaration, Pelosi reminds GOP it won't always be in powerTrump is using "emergency" powers to get what he wants in defiance of Congress. If he gets [...]

Trump's emergency declaration represents a special kind of surrenderToday's emergency declaration is many things, but it's principally an acknowledgement of a [...]

With emergency declaration, Trump ignores public will (among other things)When Trump issues an emergency declaration in order to build a border wall, he'll do so while i [...]

GOP criticisms of Obama's 'lawlessness' appear increasingly ironicRepublicans decried Obama as a "lawless" president, indifferent to the rule of law. They w [...]

Spending deal brings Trump's latest embarrassing failure into focusTrump picked a high-profile fight two months ago, and it's now obvious that the amateur preside [...]

With emergency declaration, Trump divides GOP, unites Dems (again)With his shutdown gambit, Trump picked a fight that united his opponents and divided his allies. Tod [...]

Tiny detail raises new questions about Mueller mystery caseRachel Maddow reports on newly unredacted bits in the secretive case involving a mystery company and [...]

Trump faces steep opposition to border emergency declarationRep. John Garamendi talks with Rachel Maddow about making sure that Donald Trump doesn't use hi [...]

Labeling anyone as an anti-Semite who speaks about how Israel cynically uses evangelicals and Jewish [...]

While the enabling Republicans are stuck with the misogynist-in-chief-groper, Democrats have the lux [...]

Here’s how to define Donald Trump: Trump is the intersection where all the con-artists, sleaze-bags, [...]

The roars of approval Trump received from his enabler-Republican lawmakers during his State of the U [...]

After years of a hateful lunatic in the presidency, how do we make our way back into love, beauty an [...]

After years of a hapless amateur in the presidency, how do we make our way back into love, beauty an [...]

Chances are Mike Pence might become president through Trump’s resignation, impeachment or arrest. A [...]

Every year, ordinary homeowners like my family pay a percentage of our house’s value in tax. A house [...]

Howard Schultz and Donald Trump share a religious faith in the self-evident goodness of wealth, gree [...]

The last thing Democrats need in 2020 is a white male candidate (Bernie) who would be 79 on taking o [...]

After having been unjustly convicted of the bogus charges brought against him in that most infamous [...]

The Philosophy of Christopher NolanEver since I first watched Memento and its fascinating exploration of the philosophical question of [...]

Voltaire - CandideThe philosophical problem of evil—the question of how the existence of unnecessary suffering is poss [...]

Arrow - A Celebration of LoveLife is hard enough as it is. Existence, in many ways, is suffering. Obviously, some have it much wo [...]

If 'Despacito' Were Written by an Evo-Devo BiologistIf you are a geek, you are likely to get excited over things others might find boring, laughable, la [...]

James Baldwin Debates William F. BuckleyJames Baldwin, the great essayist, poet, civil rights activist, writer and orator, would have turned [...]

Genius of the Ancient World - SocratesFew figures have been more important and influential in the history of civilization than the ancient [...]

The PresocraticsAnyone who's ever contemplated Raphael's celebrated painting The School of Athens knows th [...]

President Obama's Farewell AddressAs his presidency sadly comes to an end, President Obama delivered last night what is sure to become [...]

John Berger - Ways of SeeingArt critic John Berger's recent death has left a huge void in the world of art appreciation. Wh [...]

Right Living, Thinking, Etc
  • Two Truths News
  • Natural Living-Healthy Planet

Kate Lila Wheeler answers one of the most frequently asked questions about challenges on the spiritu [...]

Buddhist teacher Susan Piver shares her advice for entering the online dating world. The post A Budd [...]

For decades, Talbott edited books written and translated by the Tibetan Buddhist teacher Tulku Thond [...]

Lindsay Kyte explores the dharma of dating as she follows a friend navigating the wacky world of onl [...]

Larry Yang takes an honest look at what it means to be a dharma teacher who hasn’t been, and doesn’t [...]

In the Spring 2019 issue of Buddhadharma, Annabella Pitkin reviews "A Critique of Western Buddh [...]

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Nikki Mirghafori, and Gyokei Yokoyama answer the question: "We are encou [...]

We take a closer look at the art featured in the Spring 2019 issue of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner [...]

David Loy makes clear what Buddhism offers in the face of climate change. From the Spring 2019 issue [...]

The Spring 2019 issue of Buddhadharma is available now. Preview the magazine contents and sample art [...]

(Natural News) When you interact with top-level Democrats, never make the mistake of thinking you’re [...]

(Natural News) A government vaccine expert is now blowing the whistle on the link between vaccines a [...]

(Natural News) NewsGuard Technologies promotes itself as a company bent on fighting “fake news” and [...]

(Natural News) The mainstream media has been running a massive propaganda campaign to assure concern [...]

(Natural News) Vaccine skepticism is heavily discouraged by the establishment, but research discredi [...]

(Natural News) Yet another entitled, black female (this one embarrassingly overweight) recently deci [...]

(Natural News) As U.S. border agents crack down on organized crime, drugs, and human trafficking at [...]

(Natural News) Even as Leftists Democrats continue to insist that providing proper funding for a bor [...]

(Natural News) To an outsider, the prepping lifestyle may seem paranoid and unnecessary. But if you’ [...]

(Natural News) Almost everyone that goes out to visit one of our major cities on the west coast has [...]

Science News
  • The Universe Today
  • Perimeter Institute
  • Science Daily
  • Sky and Telescope

According to multiple sources, Mars One - the organization intent on crowdsourcing the colonization [...]

NASA’s InSight lander has finally placed its heat probe on the surface of Mars. The Heat Flow and Ph [...]

A glaciologist has discovered another enormous impact crater under more than a mile of ice in Greenl [...]

New images from Hubble have shown some interesting seasonal developments on Neptune and Uranus The p [...]

A new study shows that Mars may very well be volcanically active. Nobody’s seen direct evidence of v [...]

Hosts: Fraser Cain (universetoday.com / @fcain) Dr. Paul M. Sutter (pmsutter.com / @PaulMattSutter) [...]

Elon Musk just suggested that the price for a trip to Mars and back could be as low as $100,000. He [...]

A student team associated with the ESA recently developed a concept for a Moon base that would rely [...]

Astronomers have known for some time that the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxies will collide on s [...]

The latest images to come from the New Horizons mission show that Ultima Thule (the first KBO to be [...]

Perimeter researchers continue hot streak in Buchalter Cosmology Prize competitionWednesday Jan 09, [...]

New fellowships to fuel fundamental physics with radio telescopes in Canada Thursday Dec 20, 2018Per [...]

2018: Perimeter's scientific year in reviewMonday Dec 17, 2018As another year draws to a close, [...]

Perimeter ramps up efforts to support greater diversityFriday Nov 30, 2018Perimeter has taken anothe [...]

Exploring the physics all around usTuesday Nov 13, 2018From climate change to gravitational waves, t [...]

LUKE SANTI AWARD WINNER CULTIVATES CURIOSITY AND GRITWednesday Nov 07, 2018Aidan Richards, a first-y [...]

New fellowships aim to support early-career researchersTuesday Oct 30, 2018Fellowships named in hono [...]

New program aims to bridge gap between high school and grad schoolFriday Oct 19, 2018Perimeter’s new [...]

EINSTEINPLUS EN FRANÇAIS TAKES TEACHERS BACK TO THEIR ROOTSThursday Oct 18, 2018French adaptation of [...]

Perimeter congratulates 2018 Nobel laureate Donna Strickland of University of WaterlooTuesday Oct 02 [...]

Tidal tails: The beginning of the end of an open star clusterIn the course of their life, open star clusters continuously lose stars to their surroundings. The r [...]

A nearby river of starsAstronomers have found a river of stars, a stellar stream in astronomical parlance, covering most of [...]

Massive Bolivian earthquake reveals mountains 660 kilometers below our feetGeophysicists used data from an enormous earthquake in Bolivia to find mountains at the base of the [...]

Ultra-lightweight ceramic material withstands extreme temperaturesResearchers have created an extremely light, very durable ceramic aerogel. The material could be use [...]

Gravitational waves will settle cosmic conundrumMeasurements of gravitational waves from approximately 50 binary neutron stars over the next decade [...]

New molecules reverse memory loss linked to depression, agingNew therapeutic molecules show promise in reversing the memory loss linked to depression and aging. [...]

Orangutans make complex economic decisions about tool useFlexible tool use is closely associated to higher mental processes such as the ability to plan actio [...]

NASA's Opportunity rover mission on Mars comes to endOne of the most successful and enduring feats of interplanetary exploration, NASA's Opportunity [...]

New dinosaur with heart-shaped tail provides evolutionary clues for African continentA new dinosaur that wears its 'heart' on its tail provides new clues to how ecosystems evo [...]

Neanderthal footprints found in GibraltarThis work started 10 years ago, when the first dates using the OSL method were obtained. It is then [...]

  NAME SLNASA – Sri Lanka Neoteric Astronomy and Science Association ADDRESS No.2279, Stage III Anur [...]

There's more than one way to stretch your data . . . and the truth. The post Astro-Imaging: Str [...]

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) will soon begin a new round of observ [...]

Despite months of listening, NASA has failed to pick up any signals from the stalwart Opportunity ro [...]

Galactic cirrus (clouds of interstellar dust) is challenging to observe, but Mel Bartels shows us ho [...]

On Monday night, February 18th, observers in the western U.S. and Mexico may see the occultation of [...]

By tracing stars in other galaxies, the Gaia satellite has helped astronomers understand the relativ [...]

The post SOLAR DISK appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post Comet C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) Coma Gif appeared first on Sky & Telescope. [...]

The post Conjunction of the Moon and the planets Jupiter and Venus. appeared first on Sky & Tele [...]