Hawthorne and Melville: Writing a Relationship

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Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne met in 1850 and enjoyed for sixteen months an intense but brief friendship. Taking advantage of new interpretive tools such as queer theory, globalist studies, political and social ideology, marketplace analysis, psychoanalytical and philosophical applications to literature, masculinist theory, and critical studies of race, the twelve essays in this book focus on a number of provocative personal, professional, and literary ambiguities existing between the two writers.

Jana L. Argersinger and Leland S. Person introduce the volume with a lively summary of the known biographical facts of the two writers’ relationship and an overview of the relevant scholarship to date. Some of the essays that follow broach the possibility of sexual dimensions to the relationship, a question that “looms like a grand hooded phantom” over the field of Melville-Hawthorne studies. Questions of influence--Hawthorne’s on Moby-Dick and Pierre and Melville’s on The Blithedale Romance, to mention only the most obvious instances--are also discussed. Other topics covered include professional competitiveness; Melville’s search for a father figure; masculine ambivalence in the marketplace; and political-literary aspects of nationalism, transcendentalism, race, and other defining issues of Hawthorne and Melville’s times.

Roughly half of the essays focus on biographical issues; the others take literary perspectives. The essays are informed by a variety of critical approaches, as well as by new historical insights and new understandings of the possibilities that existed for male friendships in nineteenth-century American culture.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This engaging—sometimes even moving—collection produces a compelling, multidirectional dialogue about how readers might understand the substance of the provocatively cryptic relationship between Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Whatever their answers, the essays included here manage to convey the critical liveliness that each scholar brings to the incomplete dialogue between these two centrally important U.S. writers."--Dana D. Nelson, Vanderbilt University

"This provocative book, as it examines the complex relationship between Hawthorne and Melville, yields a series of engrossing and deeply informed readings of their lives and their works. The contributors to this volume have obviously freed themselves from the tradition of a cautious and muted approach to the Hawthorne-Melville relationship and, by taking a new, boldly imaginative and speculative approach, have arrived at rich new understandings of the relationship, especially its sexual and political dynamics. The result is a major contribution to scholarship of the period."--Larry J. Reynolds, author of European Revolutions and the American Literary Renaissance

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820330969
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 6/15/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jana L. Argersinger is a coeditor of ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance and Poe Studies/Dark Romanticism and serves as president of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals. Leland S. Person is a professor of English at the University of Cincinnati. His books include The Cambridge Introduction to Nathaniel Hawthorne.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Hawthorne and Melville: Writing, Relationship, and Missing Letters Jana L. Argersinger Argersinger, Jana L. Leland S. Person Person, Leland S. 1

Toward the Biographical

Mr. Omoo and the Hawthornes: The Biographical Background Laurie Robertson-Lorant Robertson-Lorant, Laurie 27

Hawthorne and Melville; or, The Ambiguities Brenda Wineapple Wineapple, Brenda 51

"The Ugly Socrates": Melville, Hawthorne, and the Varieties of Homoerotic Experience Robert Milder Milder, Robert 71

"Ineffable Socialities": Melville, Hawthorne, and Masculine Ambivalence in the Antebellum Marketplace Gale Temple Temple, Gale 113

Italy, the Civil War, and the Politics of Friendship Dennis Berthold Berthold, Dennis 133

Letters on Foolscap Wyn Kelley Kelley, Wyn 155

Toward the Literary

Hawthorne and Melville in the Shoals: "Agatha," the Trials of Authorship, and the Dream of Collaboration Wyn Kelly Kelly, Wyn 173

"Shanties of Chapters and Essays": Rewriting Moby-Dick Robert Sattelmeyer Sattelmeyer, Robert 197

Genealogical Fictions: Race in The House of the Seven Gables and Pierre Robert S. Levine Levine, Robert S. 227

In the Whale's Wake: Melville and The Blithedale Romance Thomas R. Mitchell Mitchell, Thomas R. 249

"In Old Rome's Pantheon": Hawthorne, Melville, and the Two Republics Richard Hardack Hardack, Richard 269

Hawthorne, Melville, and the Spirits Ellen Weinauer Weinauer, Ellen 297

Alienated Affections: Hawthorne and Melville's Trans-intimate Relationship Christopher Castiglia Castiglia, Christopher 321

Works Cited 345

Contributors 367

Index 371

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