☉ Melville: His World and Work (English Edition) Auteur Andrew Delbanco – Varanus.us

Melville: His World and Work (English Edition)CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH 1 He Was Born On August 1, 1819, Into Good Circumstances But His Parents Lacked The Money To Stay There, And So They Turned, At No Small Cost To Their Dignity, To Their Elders For Help On His Mothers Side, The Benefactor Was Marias Father, Peter Gansevoort, A Towering Man Six Foot Three In An Age When Six Footers Were Rare Famous For Having Commanded The Defense Of Fort Stanwix, An Outpost Guarding The Trade Route From The Great Lakes, During The British Siege Of 1777 There Is A Tendency Today To Think Of The Revolutionary War As A Dispute Among Bewigged Gentlemen Who Sent Men Into Battle With Inaccurate Guns To The Martial Music Of Fife And Drum In Fact, It Was A Brutal War Whose Combatants Literally Tasted Sweat And Blood Flung From The Bodies Of Their Enemies As They Slashed At Each Other With Bayonets It Was Not Uncommon For Wounded Soldiers To Be Stabbed Through And Left To Bleed To Death Like Sieves, Or To Have Their Brains Dashed Out With Barbarity To The Utmost By The Musket Butts Of The Advancing Enemy Melville Was To Write About This War In The Novel Israel Potter, In Which He Described The Yankee Defenders At Bunker Hill Gripping Their Muskets By The Barrel And Beating Back The British Assault By Wielding The Stock Right And Left, As Seal Hunters On The Beach, Knock Down With Their Clubs The Shetland Seal Melvilles Gansevoort Grandfather Was Known For His Valor In The Face Of Superior Numbers Of Enemy Troops At Fort Stanwix, Having Refused To Receive A Verbal Message From The Officer In Charge Of The British Assault, He Was Presented With A Written Ultimatum To Surrender Exhibiting In Magnificent Termsthe Strength Of The British Armyand The Hopeless Situation Of The Garrison, To Which He Replied With Formal Contempt Sir In Answer To Your Letter Of Todays Date, I Have Only To Say, That It Is My Determined Resolution, With The Forces Under My Command To Defend This Fort, At Every Hazard, To The Last Extremity, In Behalf Of The United American States, Who Have Placed Me Here To Defend It Against All Their Enemies I Have The Honor To Be, Sir, Your Most Obedient And Humble Servant, Peter Gansevoort, Col., Commanding Fort Stanwix This Immovable Eighteenth Century Gentleman Lived Out His Years In Albany Upon His Death In 1812, Seven Years Before His Grandson Herman Was Born, Peter Gansevoorts Assets Were Passed On To His Son Peter Junior, Along With The Obligation To Look After His Sister Maria And Her Unborn Children On The Melville Side, Too, There Was A Modest Fortune, And Hermans Father, Allan, Did His Best To Tap It Allans Father, Major Thomas Melvill, Was Also A Celebrated Veteran Of The Revolution, Accustomed To Being Greeted On The Streets Of Boston With Bows Of Deference In 1831, When The Deference Was Turning To Pity, Dr Oliver Wendell Holmes Made A Little Verse Sketch Of Him Called The Last Leaf My Grandmamma Has Said Poor Old Lady She Is Dead Long Ago That He Had A Roman Nose, And His Cheek Was Like A Rose In The Snow But Now His Nose Is Thin, And It Rests Upon His Chin Like A Staff, And A Crook In His Back, And A Melancholy Crack In His Laugh One Basic Fact Linked The Lives Of Melvilles Grandfathers Both Had Been Born English And Had Become, By Violence, American On Childhood Visits To Boston, Herman Heard War Stories Directly From Thomas Melvill, Who Still Wore His Old Three Cornered Hat, And The Breeches, And All That, And Proudly Showed His Grandson The Vial Containing Tea Leaves Brushed From His Clothes After He Had Taken Part In The Boston Tea Party Dressed In Indian Garb And Warpaint Though He Never Knew His Maternal Grandfather, Herman Learned About The Hero Of Fort Stanwix From His Mother And Uncles, And Doubtless Had Him In Mind For The Portrait, In Pierre, Of Grand Old Pierre Glendinninga Massive Man Who, During A Fire In The Old Manorial Mansion, With One Dash Of His Foothad Smitten Down An Oaken Door, And In The Wilderness Before The Revolutionary Warhad Annihilated Two Indian Savages By Making Reciprocal Bludgeons Of Their Heads If Melvilles Grandfathers Were Holdovers From The Glorious Past, His Father Lived In A Fanciful Future Born In Boston, Allan Melvill Wooed His Bride From A Venerable Dutch Patroon Family In Albany, Then Moved To The Fast Growing City Of New York Having Made The Grand Tour Of Europe As A Young Man, He Became An Import Merchant Specializing In What Today We Would Call Accessoriesa Deluxe Mr Micawber, As James Wood Has Aptly Called Himwith The Groundless Optimism Of Someone Proficient At Deceiving Himself He Was Always Counting On This Or That Confidential Connexion To Deliver A Windfall, Or Assuring His Creditors That Some Long Pending Deal Was About To Close My Prospects Brighten, He Wrote In 1820 To His Own Father When Herman Was Not Yet A Year Old, Without Being Over Sanguine, I May Be Allowed To Indulge, Under The Blessing Of Heaven, Anticipations Of Eventual Success Allan Was Being Over Sanguine, And Everyone Knew Itthough For A Time His Bravado Almost Convinced The World That His Failures Were Temporary And His Successes Deferred By All Accounts, He Had An Eye For Quality An Advertisement He Placed In 1824 In A New York Newspaper Gives An Idea Of His Inventory Fancy Hdfks And ScarfsElastic And Silk Garters, Artificial Flowers, Cravat Stiffners, C Also In Storerich Satin Striped And Figured Blk Silk Vestings, Gros De Naples Hdkfs, Belt And Watch Ribbons, 716 722 Silk HoseHorse Skin GlovesCologne And Lavender Waters, C He Could Switch Easily Into The Visitors Native Language When A Frenchman Entered His Store, And He Furnished His Home With Mementoes Of His European Travels, Whose Provenance He Loved To Detail For Friends Over A Glassor Twoof Old Cognac But The Yield From His Talents Was Meager Year By Year, Allan Turned His Life Into An Almost Sordid Tale Of Reckless Borrowing And Groveling Appeals For Cash To Carry Him Through To The Next Promised Bonanza He Never Became At Ease In The Increasingly Impersonal System Whereby European Exports Were Sold In Bulk To American Auction Houses, From Which They Were Bought By Wholesalers And Distributed To The Retail Tradea Business In Which Good Taste And Personal Charm Counted For Less Than The Ability To Anticipate Rising Markets By Buying Low And Falling Prices By Selling High Following The Trade Agreements With Britain That Settled The War Of 1812, Something Like The Frantic Rhythm Of Modern Commodities Markets Developed, And Allan Melvill Was Unprepared Nearly Forty Years Later, Aspects Of Allan Turn Up In His Sons Portrait, In White Jacket, Of An Effete Commodores Secretary Who Looks Like An Ambassador Extraordinary From Versailles, And Whose Prized Possessions Include Enamelled Pencil Cases And Fine French Boots With Soles No Thicker Than A Sheet Of Scented Notepaper If Melvilles Father Was Always Off On Some Flighty New Venture, His Mother Was A Woman Of Gravity Daughter Of A Respected Family With Roots In The Quasi Feudal Aristocracy Of The Hudson Valley, Maria Gansevoort Had Grown Up Speaking Dutch With Her Parents, Who Provided Her With The Years Of Music And Dancing Lessons Essential To A Young Lady Of Breeding Who Was Expected To Make Herself Gracious And Decorative But She Was Trained As Well In The Severe Protestantism Of Her Ancestors, And Remained Wary All Her Life Of Placing Too Much Faith In The Things Of This World Lest They Be Snatched Away Especially In The Months After Giving Birth, Which She Did Eight Times, She Was Given To Moodiness, And Though She Wanted Her Own Children To Master Such Worldly Arts As Penmanship And Deportment, She Was At Pains To Prepare Their Souls For Deprivation And Death It Was From Maria That Herman Received The Rudiments Of A Religious Education Although She Chastised Him Well Into Adulthood For His Spotty Church Attendance, And He Was Never What We Would Call Observant, The Ultimate Questions Posed By Religion Never Lost Their Hold On His Imagination Maria, Who Knew The Bible In Dutch As Well As English, Brought Biblical Stories, Exempla, And Precedents Into The Lives Of All Her Children, And For Her Second Son Characters From The Bible Always Remained As Vividly Alive As The Worthies And Villains Of His Own Time Ishmael, Bildad, Ahab, And Elijah Are Just A Few Of The Names In Moby Dick By Which He Invests Characters With A Priori Allegorical Significance Before They Begin To Act In His Invented World He Ends His Great Story Bartleby, The Scrivener With A Quotation From The Book Of Job Bartleby Sleeps With Kings And Counselors And In His Final Work, Billy Budd, He Gives The Music Of The Bible In A Telling Variation To Captain Vere, Who Quotes Acts 17 28, Reminding His Officers That The Element In Which We Move And Have Our Being Is Not God, But The Sea The Pioneer Scholar Nathalia Wright Counts 250 Biblical Allusions In Moby Dick Alone Melville Knew The Bible So Well, She Writes, That He Could Smell The Burning Of Gomorrah, And The Pit Hear The Trumpet In The Valley Of Jehoshaphat Andtaste Belshazzars Feast In The Early Years When He Heard Travelers Tales From His Father And Bible Stories From HAndrew Delbanco Places The Enigmatic Herman Melville In A Light That Is Remarkably Sustained And Often Brilliant His Acute Sense Of The Man, His Wide Angled Literary Insight, And The Range And Strength Of His Grasp Of Melville S World Enable Delbanco To Deliver Full Scale The Strangest Of Our Literary Giants He Also Has Placed Himself In The Company Of Edmund Wilson, Alfred Kazin And Richard Chase As A Trustee Of Our Literature Who Writes As Well As He Reads Ted SolotaroffDelbancos Melville Is A Reward, A Brilliant And Nourishing Narrative That Reaches Beyond Literary Biography To An Exuberant Cultural History His Voice Is Strongat Times Personal In His Fresh Reading Of Melvilles Life And Work Maureen Howard

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