Posts

Featured Post

you shall be my Imaginary Friend, and I will talk to you...

Image
Oh reader! "gentle" or not,—I care not a whit,—so you are honest—I will tell you a secret. I write not to be read, and I swear never even to transcribe for your benefit unless I change my mind. All I want is a good listener; I want to converse with you; and if you are absolutely dumb, why I will sometimes answer for you. Hundreds go and come at my word; none are my "equals," so none are my social friends. I have much to do; very much;—if I nod at my post, some one, or some interest suffers,—nevertheless, the race of hermits is extinct, and man requires companionship; there are some moments unoccupied, sometimes even hours, and you shall be my Imaginary Friend, and I will talk to you.   --June 1851 Scenes Beyond the Western Border; and Scenes and Adventures in the Army [with "Imaginary Friend" revised to "Friend"]. "You see, good reader, I am making a confidant of you, and that too in matters that another tyro-editor more discreet would ve…

muttering thunder

Image
Here we make our camp: the sun shines out brightly, but muttering thunders marshall forth black clouds.... May 1852 Scenes Beyond the Western Border; and Scenes and Adventures in the Army (with "marshall" corrected to "marshal": "muttering thunders marshal forth black clouds.")
“Hark! The thunder becomes less muttering. It is nearing us, and nearing the earth, too. Hark! One crammed crash! All the vibrations made one by nearness. Another flash. Hold!”  --The Lightning-Rod Man in Putnam's Monthly Magazine 4 (August 1854) and The Piazza Tales.

Who uses "who lives" to start sentences of dramatic dialogue by fictive philosophers?

Image
Babbalanja: And who lives that blasphemes? --Mardi: And a Voyage Thither The narrator of "Scenes Beyond the Western Border" (the 1851-1853 magazine series, reprinted with later revisions as Part II of Scenes and Adventures in the Army):
But who lives, who may not be wounded through another! --August 1852 Scenes Beyond the Western Border; and Scenes and Adventures in the Army Apemantus:
... Who lives, that's not
Depraved or depraves? Who dies, that bears
Not one spurn to their graves of their friends' gift?   --Timon of Athens, Act 1 Scene 2Who lives that’s not depravèd or depraves?
Who dies that bears not one spurn to their graves Reading Bruyère on the mortal limits of friendship, Herman Melville remembered what Apemantus says in the first act of Timon and paraphrased in the margin:
"True, Shakespeare goes further. None die but somebody spurns them into the grave."
--quoted in Hershel Parker, Herman Melville: A Biography, Vol. 2, 1851-1891 (Johns Hopki…

Unsupplied

Image
CHAPTER XVIII. Romantic Cheyenne Village — Adventures There  — Our Few Wants Unsupplied in the Wilderness — March Without Water....  --Contents, part 2 chapter 18 of Scenes and Adventures in the Army (Philadelphia: Lindsay & Blakiston, 1857).
The word unsupplied occurs once in Redburn, once in Israel Potter; and thrice in Moby-Dick:
The shores of the Straits of Sunda are unsupplied with those domineering fortresses which guard the entrances to the Mediterranean, the Baltic, and the Propontis.--Chapter 87, The Grand Armada

But here a curious difficulty presented itself. In the excitement of the moment, Ahab had forgotten that since the loss of his leg he had never once stepped on board of any vessel at sea but his own, and then it was always by an ingenious and very handy mechanical contrivance peculiar to the Pequod, and a thing not to be rigged and shipped in any other vessel at a moment's warning. Now, it is no very easy matter for anybody—except those who are almost hourl…

the music changed

Image
Instantly the music changed....  --Pierre: Or, The Ambiguities (1852) But soon, the music changed; and, stranger then and there, to a sweet waltz!  --May 1853 Scenes Beyond the Western Border; and Scenes and Adventures in the Army (with "sweet waltz" revised to "joyous air").

Welcome then

Life is little better than sleep

Image
... life is little else than an often interrupted and luxurious nap. --Typee



And why not tell my dream?—Life is little better; nay, it is little different.  --March 1853 Scenes Beyond the Western Border; and Scenes and Adventures in the Army.

Deleting "as of a"; adding direful and Titanic

Image
Suddenly, with  a crash, as of a mountain of rock torn asunder....  --May 1853 Scenes Beyond the Western Border Revisions to the May 1853 installment of "Scenes Beyond the Western Border" in the Southern Literary Messenger include deletion of the simile introduced with the expression, "as of a...." Cutting "as of a" transforms the metaphorical "mountain of rock" into literal "rocks," vividly re-figured after revision as "Titanic."


But suddenly, with a direful crash amid the Titanic rocks....  --Scenes and Adventures in the Army Also added in revision, along with "Titanic": the adjective "direful" that describes the "crash" which has been made a more immediate and literal, less metaphorical sound, by deleting "as of a." Deleted or added, the verbal elements of this fascinating revision site are all exampled in Herman Melville's writing. The words direful and Titanic feature with par…