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Critical Commentary Related to Literary Links between Hawthorne and Melville

Critical Commentary Related to Melville and Hawthorne

Photograph of Herman Melville, 1861
Photograph of Herman Melville, 1861 (courtesy of Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA)

  • Excerpts from Melville, Herman. "Hawthorne and His Mosses". 1850. In these excerpts, Melville expresses his passionately reverential response to Hawthorne's collection of short stories Mosses from an Old Manse. In the course of doing so, he repeatedly refers to the term mosses and compares the enigmatic Hawthorne to Shakespeare.

  • Excerpts from the lecture "Hawthorne and Melville", by David B. Kesterson , from the section: Literary Interaction and Influences: Melville's Reviews of Hawthorne's Works delivered in Salem, Massachusetts, September 23, 2000, at the Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum.

  • Excerpts from James R. Mellow's Nathaniel Hawthorne in His Times Hawthorne biographer James R. Mellow examines the internal evidence for the sexual tension between Coverdale and Hollingsworth in The Blithedale Romance as a possible parallel for elements in the personal relationship between Hawthorne and Melville.

  • Excerpts from Edwin Haviland Miller's Salem Is My Dwelling Place: A Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne Hawthorne biographer Edwin Haviland Miller examines imagery in Melville's review of Hawthorne's Mosses from an Old Manse as indicative of sexual tension in the personal relationship between the two authors.

  • Excerpts from the lecture "The Meanings of Hawthorne's Women," by Smith College Professor Richard H. Millington, presented at the House of the Seven Gables Historic Site (Turner House), Salem, Massachusetts, 8 September 2000 Professor Millington's lecture "The Meanings of Hawthorne's Women" connects most clearly with the relationship between Hawthorne and Melville when he notes that "Melville's famous label-'Hawthorne: a Problem'-seems to belong with special force to this whole question of identification with women-of vicarious femininity or feminism in Hawthorne's work." While Millington necessarily leaves open many of the questions that can be raised about his topic, he persuasively shows that Hawthorne identified in many ways with women in his work whereas he lacked any corresponding advocacy for women in the real world. The following excerpts from Millington's lecture develop the concept of Hawthorne's "imaginary femininity."

  • Excerpt from Hawthorne: A Life by Brenda Wineapple In this passage from Wineapple's 2003 biography of Hawthorne, she discusses Melville's and Hawthorne's shared interest in the sea but also contrasts "the coxswain…come back to tell all, striding off the gangplank" with the writer who was a "dry-docked Custom House inspector (223). (courtesy of Alfred A. Knopf)

    Page citation: http://www.hawthorneinsalem.org/page/12489/

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