Monday, December 24, 2012

A Melville Poem Published in 1877? Any Searchers Out There?

from a draft of a Historical Note

If indeed Melville came across "The Age of the Antonines" among his papers rather than writing it afresh, his copying it out [on 31 March 1877] may have inspired him to try to get it (or perhaps another poem) into print.  On 17 June 1877 his sister Fanny wrote to Kate Gansevoort Lansing: "Ever so much love for Abe.  Did he receive the paper containing those lines by Herman?  'Why I am A Churchman' has arrived; many thanks for sending it on, I wanted to read it."  The context, members of the family passing on reading material, suggests strongly that Fanny or someone else had sent Abe a newspaper containing some poetry by Herman in it, but no such publication has been found.

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