Talk:Herman Melville

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Dpbsmith, did you take out my attempt to explain why Moby-Dick was first panned, then effusively praised, and then again (more recently) has fallen into less favor in schools? I thought my explanation about the superficial overtones explained that mystery well, albeit through speculation. --Aschlafly 17:59, 3 February 2007 (EST)

No, not I. I added stuff, I didn't remove anything. Let's look at the history. Dpbsmith 18:00, 3 February 2007 (EST)
Nobody but me edited since your last edit, but I don't think I removed anything. Maybe my rearrangement obscured the point you were trying to make. The language "Now, 155 years after its publication, it is less popular among teachers. The shifting popularity of the novel may reflect the shifting views toward Christianity in American schools, as the novel's invocation of religion was perhaps too superficial for schools in the 1850s but too much for schools today" is still there. Tweak back as you like.
Mind you, I'm not convinced that attitudes toward Christianity have much to do with its changes in popularity... to me it doesn't even seem to have a particularly Christian subtext—I'm thinking of the scene in which Ishmael, invoking the Golden Rule, joins Queequeg in idol worship... but I didn't mean to remove anything you had written. Dpbsmith 18:06, 3 February 2007 (EST)

Times obituary

Not sure how much of this appropriately belongs in the article, but...

OBITUARY. The New York Times, September 29, 1891, p. 8 opens with forty lines about Gustavus A. Hull, followed by short notes of eleven other deaths. Melville's appears eighth, but it doesn't misspell his name. In full, it reads:

Herman Melville died yesterday at his residence, 104 East Twenty-sixth Street, this city, of heart failure, aged seventy-two. He was the author of "Typee," "Omoo," "Mobie[sic] Dick," and other sea-faring tales, written in earlier years. He leaves a wife and two daughters, Mrs. M. B. Thomas and Miss Melville.

However, on October 2, 1891, p. 4, it published a long reminiscence, about a full column, opening

There has died and been buried in this city, during the current week, at an advanced age, a man who is so little known, even by name, to the generation now in the vigor of life that only one newspaper contained an obituary account of him, and this was but of three or four lines. Yet forty years ago the appearance of a new book by HERMAN MELVILLE was esteemed a literary event, not only throughout his own country, but so far as the English-speaking race extended.... Yet when a visiting British writer a few years ago inquired at a gathering in New York of distinctly literary Americans what had become of HERMAN MELVILLE, not only was there not one among them who was able to tell them, but there was scarcely one among them who had ever heard of the man concerning whom he inquired, albeit that man was then living within a half mile of the place of the conversation. Years ago the books by which MELVILLE's reputation had been made had long been out of print and out of demand. The latest book, now about a quarter of a century old, "Battle Pieces and Aspects of the War," fell flat, and he has died an absolutely forgotten man.

Here's an interesting one. "LITERARY FAME. From the Buffalo Courier. The New York Times, November 12, 1890, p. 7:

There are more people to-day who believe Herman Melville dead than there are those who know he is living.... Forty-four years ago, when his most famous tale, "Typee," appeared, there was not a better known author than he, and he commanded his own prices. Publishers sought him, and editors considered themselves fortunate to secure his name as a literary star. And to-day! Busy New-York has no idea he is even alive, and one of the best-informed literary men in the country laughed recently at my statement that Herman Melville was his neighbor by only two city blocks. "Nonsense!" said he. "Why, Melville is dead these many years!" Talk about literary fame! There's a sample of it.