He underlined the statement that Giovanni "knew not whether he were wicked or only desperate" when he discovered his poisonous infection by Beatrice while testing the force of his breath on a spider He triple-scored Giovanni's bitter assertion to Beatrice that since they were now both poisonous in their breath they should kiss in hatred and die And he again triple-scored the end of the story in which Dr. Rappaccini coldly rebukes his dying daughter by asking her whether she would have liked to have been "exposed to all evil, and capable of none?
Smooth-it-away responded to the narrator's Bunyanesque question about a "rusty iron door" on a hillside near the Celestial City providing a "by-way to Hell" by evasively claiming that the door only led to a cavern used as "a smoke-house for the preparation of mutton hams" And he triple-checked the passage in which the narrator at the conclusion to the sketch rebuked Smooth-it-away as a hypocrite: "The impudent fiend!
To deny the existence of Tophet, when he felt its fiery tortures raging within his breast! Finally, in "The Procession of Life," Melville marked a passage with a marginal wavy score and underlining in which the narrator notes that one of "the most hopeless of all sinners" might remain ignorant of their own "deadly crime" by means of "an exemplary system of outward duties" In the next paragraph he checked the narrator's equation of statesmen, rulers, and generals as sinners on a grand scale, as compared to the "meanest criminal" Melville was also particularly attentive to Hawthorne's concern with questions of death and the afterlife.
In "The Birth-Mark," for example, he labeled the final moral of the story "wonderfully fine," referring to the passage in which Aylmer inadvertently killed his wife while attempting to remove the birthmark on her cheek because he "failed to look beyond the shadowy scope of Time, and living once for all Eternity, to find the perfect Future in the present" A more somber and ambiguous vision of death and the afterlife is presented in "Monsieur du Miroir," whose message was more in keeping with Melville's unsettled views on the issue of personal immortality.
Melville thus singled out for special attention a passage in which the narrator speculates on the nature of Monsieur du Miroir's existence after his death, asking whether the latter would linger where the narrator once lived to remind the world of "one who staked much to win a name" Farther down the same page Melville bracketed the sentence concluding the narrator's speculations on his reflected image's existence after death: "He will pass to the dark realm of Nothingness, but will not find me there" Melville's somber comment—"This trenches upon the uncertain and the terrible"—highlights his concern with the mysteries of the afterlife and the possibility of spiritual annihilation.
More optimistic but still tentative about the posthumous fate of the soul was a passage at the conclusion to "The Procession of Life" that Melville marked in which the narrator claims that Death, the leader of the Procession, does not know life's ultimate destination; but God, "who made us, knows, and will not leave us on our toilsome and doubtful march, either to wander in infinite uncertainty, or perish by the way!
On the other hand, in "The Christmas Banquet," Melville recorded a wavy marginal score next to a passage describing the presence of a death's head shrouded in a black mantle; if the banqueters should remove the veil in order to know "the purpose of earthly existence," all they would discover would be "a stare of the vacant eye-caverns, and a grin of the skeleton-jaws!
Finally, Melville marked a passage at the conclusion to "The Virtuoso's Collection" in which the virtuoso responds to the narrator's discovery that he is actually the legendary figure of the Wandering Jew by claiming that his destiny is "linked with the realities of the earth," not to the narrator's "visions and shadows of a future state.
A third important theme in Melville's markings of Hawthorne's Mosses is the debate between head and heart, intellect and emotion, that permeated a wide range of Romantic-era writing.
While reading "A Select Party," for example, Melville triple-scored the passage describing the coming Master Genius who would create an authentic American literature as "a young man in poor attire, with no insignia of rank or acknowledged eminence, nor anything to distinguish him among the crowd except a high, white forehead, beneath which a pair of deep-set eyes were glowing with warm light. It was such a light as never illuminates the earth, save when a great heart burns as the household fire of a grand intellect" In "The Procession of Life," Melville applied a double wavy marginal score next to a passage describing how the discovery of a powerful truth, "being the rich grape-juice expressed from the vineyard of the ages, has an intoxicating quality, when imbibed by any save a powerful intellect, and often, as it were, impels the quaffer to quarrel in his cups" In "The Christmas Banquet," Melville checked a passage describing a young man, Gervayse Hastings, whose occasionally brilliant conversation was "lacking the powerful characteristics of a nature that had been developed by suffering" In "The Intelligence Office," Melville recorded a wavy marginal score next to the passage describing the young "thinker" who has a face "full of sturdy vigor" that was "tempered with the glow of a large, warm heart, which had force enough to heat his powerful intellect through and through" Finally, in "P's Correspondence," Melville scored a passage in which the narrator describes how the hypothetical productions of the poet Shelley's "maturity" are better than those of his youth because "[t]he author has learned to dip his pen oftener into his heart, and has thereby avoided the faults into which a too exclusive use of fancy and intellect are wont to betray him" A fourth theme evident from Melville's markings of Hawthorne's Mosses is the philosophical conflict of ideal and real, appearance and reality.
So in "The Birth-Mark," Melville scored the margin where the narrator mentioned the human preference for images over realities, or the "indescribable difference, which always makes a picture, an image, or a shadow, so much more attractive than the original" In "Rappaccini's Daughter," he checked a passage in which the narrator asserted: "There is something truer and more real, than what we can see with the eyes, and touch with the finger" In "The Hall of Fantasy," he checked a passage suggesting that "the fantasies of one day are the deepest realities of a future one" In "The Intelligence Office," Melville scored the narrator's description of the book of wishes, which demonstrated that there is "more of good and more of evil" than gets acted out in the real world And in "The Old Apple-Dealer," Melville marked a passage with a wavy marginal score in which the narrator claimed that if he could read only a small part of the heart and mind of his humble nondescript subject, "it would be a volume of deeper and more comprehensive import than all that the wisest mortals have given to the world; for the soundless depths of the human soul, and of eternity, have an opening through your breast" Lastly, Melville marked passages in Hawthorne's Mosses that represent the artist and thinker as an idealist, prophet, and truth-teller who must keep faith in the importance of his message and mission.
Thus, in "The Birth-Mark," Melville checked, underlined, and scored a passage describing Georgiana's reading of her husband's journals and discovering that his successes were failures compared to the ideals at which he aimed: "It was the sad confession, and continual exemplification, of the short-comings of the composite man—the spirit burthened with clay and working in matter; and of the despair that assails the higher nature, at finding itself so miserably thwarted by the earthly part.
Perhaps every man of genius, in whatever sphere, might recognize the image of his own experience in Aylmer's journal" In "A Select Party," he scored a passage describing the inconspicuous but sanctified appearance of the "Master Genius" who would create an authentic American literature: "he dwells as yet unhonored among men, unrecognized by those who have known him from his cradle;—the noble countenance, which should be distinguished by a halo diffused around it, passes daily amid the throng of people, toiling and troubling themselves about the trifles of a moment—and none pay reverence to the worker of immortality" And at the end of the same sketch, Melville triple-scored a passage in which this Master Genius assumes his proper place in the allegorical group when Posterity "led him to the chair of state, beneath a princely canopy.
When once they beheld him in his true place, the company acknowledged the justice of the selection by a long thunder-roll of vehement applause" In "The Intelligence Office," Melville applied a wavy marginal score next to a passage describing the appearance of the anonymous "thinker" who asks the Man of Intelligence what his office represents: "It will not satisfy me to point to this fantastic show of an Intelligence Office, and this mockery of business. Tell me what is beneath it, and what your real agency in life, and your influence upon mankind?
And in "The Artist of the Beautiful," Melville triple-scored a passage describing the "ideal artist": "It is requisite for the ideal artist to possess a force of character that seems hardly compatible with its delicacy; he must keep his faith in himself, while the incredulous world assails him with its utter disbelief; he must stand up against mankind and be his own sole disciple, both as respects his genius, and the objects to which it is directed" Such a faith in the artist's vocation would be much needed by Melville as his popularity began to falter in the early s following the publication of Moby-Dick.
What immediate and long-term impact did Melville's reading of Hawthorne's Mosses have on his fiction? Most significant for our purposes are the traces of Hawthorne's volume in Moby-Dick. While an exhaustive list of recognizable links is not feasible here, we can suggest a few general lines of influence, following the lead of others who have explored the subject more extensively Wright, Stone, Gross, Reynolds, Moss, Waggoner. Melville's whaling novel was initially supposed to be finished by the fall of but would take another eight months to complete, ostensibly because of Melville's changed conception of the story in reaction to his reading of Hawthorne's fiction and the latter's inspiring presence as his Berkshire neighbor.
There can be little doubt that Melville's comments on Hawthorne's alleged obsession with moral and metaphysical "blackness" should be related to his evolving characterization of Ahab, and the development of Moby-Dick 's tragic structure. The story in Mosses with the closest correlation to Ahab's obsessive moral vision is "Young Goodman Brown," in which the title character makes a hallucinatory journey to a witches' sabbath in the woods where he observes his family, community, and new wife being initiated into a satanic community of sinners—a traumatic vision based on "specter evidence" that nevertheless permanently darkens Brown's view of the world.
Larry J. But whereas Brown's moral vision is darkened because of a self-willed obsession, Ahab's dark vision reacts to more plausible evidence for evil in the cosmos. In general, however, both writers suggest the destructive potential of an obsession with the demonic that haunted the Puritan and post-Puritan imagination. Other annotations in Melville's copy of Mosses lead us toward the character of Ishmael. Edward Stone 64 has noted the parallels between a passage that Melville marked in "The Procession of life" and his initial depiction of the friendship between Ishmael and Queequeg in Moby-Dick.
Hawthorne had written, "Each sect surrounds its own righteousness with a hedge of thorns. It is difficult for the good Christian to acknowledge the good Pagan; almost impossible for the good Orthodox to grasp the hand of the good Unitarian, leaving to their Creator to settle the matters in dispute, and giving their mutual efforts strongly and trustingly to whatever right thing is too evident to be mistaken" Melville scored the next sentence, which notes the contrast in some individuals between their expansive heart and narrowly focused intellect; and he double-scored a subsequent sentence detailing the intoxicating qualities of a powerful "Truth," leading its possessor to "quarrel in his cups" In "Rappaccini's Daughter," another of the texts he had extensively marked in Mosses , Melville had responded to the narrator's claim that "there is an influence in the light of morning that tends to rectify whatever errors of fancy, or even of judgment, we may have incurred during the sun's decline, or among the shadow of the night, or in the less wholesome glow of moonshine" The passage would patently contribute to Ishmael's experiences in "The Try-Works" Chapter 96 of Moby-Dick when, after a critical ordeal of nearly capsizing the Pequod , he expands his moral vision to include the beneficent powers of light, thereby breaking from his commitment to Ahab's uncompromising obsession with the power of blackness: "Look not too long in the face of the fire, O man!
To-morrow, in the natural sun, the skies will be bright; those who glared like devils in the forking flames, the morn will show in far other, at least gentler, relief; the glorious, golden, glad sun, the only true lamp—all others but liars! The ambiguous nature of fire as both hellish destructive agent, as in "Young Goodman Brown," and sacred center of domestic warmth, as in "Fire-Worship," would also seem to have contributed to Ishmael's divided representation of fire in "The Try-Works.
In general, the balance of head and heart that Melville singled out for praise in the portraits of the Master Genius in "A Select Party" and the truth-seeker in "The Intelligence Office" would have provided potential models for the development of Ishmael's morally balanced character. The mysteries of self and soul depicted in Hawthorne's sketch thus parallel Ishmael's metaphysical quest for identity in Moby-Dick , as in his discussion of the mysterious, irresistible human attraction to water in Chapter 1 of Moby-Dick , illustrated by the classical myth of Narcissus who drowned because he couldn't "grasp the tormenting, mild image he saw in the fountain" and whose moral implies "the image of the ungraspable phantom of life" 5.
The elusive nature of Monsieur du Miroir's image may have also contributed to the portrait of the ghostly Fedallah, Ahab's demonic double and ostensible guide in the hunt for the White Whale. Ahab's baffled speculations on the ultimate agency of his quest for revenge in "The Symphony" Chapter would also seem to be forecast in a passage Melville marked earlier in the same sketch: "Is it too wild a thought, that my fate may have assumed this image of myself, and therefore haunts me with such inevitable pertinacity, originating every act which it appears to imitate, while it deludes me by pretending to share the events, of which it is merely the emblem and prophecy?
While a detailed analysis of Melville's interactions with Hawthorne during their shared Berkshire residence is beyond the scope of this essay, we should note some aspects of its aftermath. Hawthorne eventually left the Berkshires in November while Melville was in the midst of writing Pierre , the underlying despair of which may be associated with the departure of his friend.
The following year, as a way to keep the friendship alive, Melville attempted to interest Hawthorne in using the story of an abandoned Nantucket woman, Agatha Hatch Robertson, that he had learned while traveling with his father-in-law Lemuel Shaw on court duty on Cape Cod in July But Hawthorne eventually declined the offer, as Melville found out after a brief visit with him at his new home in Concord, Massachusetts, in December —a month after Hawthorne's college friend Franklin Pierce had won the presidential election, thereby setting up Hawthorne, author of the candidate's campaign biography, for a lucrative political appointment to Liverpool a few months later.
With the commercial failure of Pierre in and his inability to publish his next novel, The Isle of the Cross based on the story that he offered to Hawthorne; see Parker in the spring of , Melville was forced to begin a career as a writer of short fiction. Hawthorne's Mosses would now provide him with needed artistic models for a literary genre he had hitherto not utilized Newman. As we can see from a brief sampling of evidence, creative transmutations of Hawthorne's stories and sketches in Mosses pervade Melville's short fiction.
In Melville's portrait of "Bartleby the Scrivener," for example, we find likely connections with Hawthorne's image of the uncompromising, ideal-driven artist Drowne, Owen Warland, the "Master Genius" , as well as of the pathos-laden old apple dealer in the sketch of the same name Levy.
William Dillingham has noted the many Hawthornean echoes in "The Encantadas" while analyzing it as a "devastatingly effective answer to his own earlier essay 'Hawthorne and His Mosses'" In "The Fiddler," too, "Melville has in effect recreated a single episode from the career of an artistic Owen Warland" Dillingham In addition to providing various themes and motifs for his short fiction, Hawthorne would also serve as a model for several characterizations in Melville's fiction and poetry, based on the initial appeal but later disenchantment that Melville found in Hawthorne's charismatic but elusive personality.
As both creature and creator, then, Hawthorne would continue to drop "germinous seeds" into Melville's "soul," which would produce important literary fruit even after Melville's gradual estrangement from his Berkshire friend, whom he last saw in Liverpool, England, in November and then again more briefly in May On the first of these occasions, Hawthorne recorded his famous description of Melville as a religious seeker: "He can neither believe, nor be comfortable in his unbelief; and he is too honest and courageous not to try to do one or the other.
If he were a religious man, he would be one of the most truly religious and reverential; he has a very high and noble nature, and better worth immortality than most of us" Journals If Melville had rhapsodically proclaimed Hawthorne as America's literary messiah and Master Genius in his Mosses review six years earlier, Hawthorne was now rendering a more somber judgment on Melville's religious and philosophical skepticism—a skepticism that would help make Melville a key figure in America's transition to modernity in the early twentieth century and a recognized master of world literature.
Ohge assumed responsibility for finalizing the transcription, and Rachel Hays assisted in proof-reading the text. The pioneering examination of the relationship was by Hayford. Still useful for its commentary on the friendship and its collection of original documents is Metcalf.
Relevant biographical data on both writers is available in Mellow and Parker. The lover of the moral picturesque may sometimes find what he, seeks in a character which is nevertheless of too negative a description to be seized upon and represented to the imaginative vision by word-painting.
As an instance, I remember an old man who carries on a little trade of gingerbread and apples at the depot of one of our railroads. While awaiting the departure of the cars, my observation, flitting to and fro among the livelier characteristics of the scene, has often settled insensibly upon this almost hueless object. Thus, unconsciously to myself and unsuspected by him, I have studied the old apple-dealer until he has become a naturalized citizen of my inner world.
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Languages English. No description is available. Nathaniel Hawthorne - Author.