The Hawthorne-Melville Relationship
In less casual registers, however, one sometimes strains for what to say about Melville and Hawthorne's relationship. Was it love? Lust?. Pieces of God. The Gay Love Letters of Herman Melville to Nathaniel Hawthorne. Excerpts from My Dear Boy: Gay Love Letters through the Centuries (). mirrors the Hawthorne/Melville friendship, and how their relationship influenced Melville's revision of Moby-Dick. Harrison Hayford's essay, “Unnecessary.
The sharp, mysterious break in the relationships between the two authors and the fictional pair constitute yet another likeness.
Gay Love Letters through the Centuries: Herman Melville
Among the relevant excerpts are the following: In Chapter Four Coverdale describes Hollingsworth's "dark complexion, his abundant beard, and the rude strength with which his features seemed to have been hammered out of iron, rather than chiselled or moulded from any finer or softer material. I besought Hollingsworth to let nobody else enter the room, but continually to make me sensible of his own presence by a grasp of the hand, a word, -- a prayer, if he thought good to utter it.
I often thought him so, with the expression of tender, human care, and gentlest sympathy. While inclining us to the soft affections of the Golden Age, it seemed to authorize any individual, of either sex, to fall in love with any other, regardless of what would elsewhere be judged suitable and prudent. If only we could know what Melville thought when he read it!
Certainly, Melville was aware that Brook Farm in Roxbury, Massachusetts, which Blithedale represents, had enjoyed the company of Hawthorne as a communal society member for most of Let me return briefly to Dr. Kesterson for his observation of the circumstances surrounding the creation of Moby-Dick.
Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne
We are reminded that throughout the fall and winter ofand summer ofHawthorne and Melville were visiting and writing to each other. Hawthorne encapsulating their conversation [of August 1, ] by writing in his journal: Here is how I introduce excerpts from the play on the site: In spite of their strong attraction to each other, they become estranged by fundamental differences.Forbidden Love: Melville & Hawthorne
Puritan-in-spite-of himself Hawthorne is pressed too far when worldly former whaler Melville becomes explicit about shipboard liaisons with fellow sailors.
Though the play suggests Hawthorne is curious about same sex relations, the reserved New Englander flees Melville and the Berkshires rather than pursue the subject.
The words that the playwrights give to Melville in Act Two, Scene Eight, for the occasion at the Curtis Hotel ballroom, which he had arranged for the two novelists alone to celebrate the publication of Moby-Dick, attempt to explain a plausible way that the younger, more worldly author, might have alienated Hawthorne: So here we are. He expands and deepens down, the more I contemplate him; and further, and further, shoots his strong New England roots into the hot soil of my Southern soul.
After Hawthorne read Moby-Dick—which was dedicated to him—he sent Melville a letter. So is it a love letter?
Article continues after advertisement Pittsfield, Monday afternoon. Is not my supper good? My peace and my supper are my reward, my dear Hawthorne. Why, ever since Adam, who has got to the meaning of this great allegory—the world? Then we pygmies must be content to have our paper allegories but ill comprehended.
I say your appreciation is my glorious gratuity. In my proud, humble way,—a shepherd-king,—I was lord of a little vale in the solitary Crimea; but you have now given me the crown of India. Your letter was handed me last night on the road going to Mr. Had I been at home, I would have sat down at once and answered it.
In me divine maganimities are spontaneous and instantaneous—catch them while you can. The world goes round, and the other side comes up. A sense of unspeakable security is in me this moment, on account of your having understood the book. I have written a wicked book, and feel spotless as the lamb. Ineffable socialities are in me.
It is a strange feeling—no hopefulness is in it, no despair. Melville may have come to feel that Hawthorne was not as profoundly sympathetic and responsive as he had at first seemed; for his part, Hawthorne was unsuccesful in using his long-established connections with Franklin Pierce to secure a government post for the impoverished Melville, a failure that left him "embarrassed and chagrined" and probably made him reluctant to pursue further encounters.
The two men met for the last time in November Melville has not been well, of late; Melville, as he always does, began to reason of Providence and futurity, and of everything that lies beyond human ken, and informed me that he had "pretty much made up his mind to be annihilated"; but still he does not seem to rest in that anticipation; and, I think, will never rest until he gets hold of a definite belief.
It is strange how he persists -- and has persisted ever since I knew him, and probably long before -- in wondering to-and-fro over these deserts, as dismal and monotonous as the sand hills amid which we were sitting. 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.