Monday, December 31, 2012

May 1991 Sendak photographed, Sendak as photographer

At the Hawthorne cottage near Lenox, May 1991.
Fading, fading, and gone this year. Tough year for Melville people.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The way Henry Holt treats John Banville

I started to read ELEGY FOR APRIL by "Benjamin Black" only to be assaulted by the ugly end-of-line hyphens. On the fifth line,

Later on
Motor-/car is OK, and
mirac-/ulous are tolerable,

but there's a horror:

This strikes me as a very inhospitable first page.
Henry Holt, publishers since 1866 but for how much longer?

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.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Consanguinity Chart Needed--is there such a thing?

On Facebook someone posted a picture of Jimmy Mize, grandson of James Robert Bell and Alice Costner Bell. I saw right away that he was my second cousin on the Costner side, since our parents were first cousins. I had to have more coffee before I did the Bell side.  After more coffee, I see that Mize and I are 3rd cousins on the Bell side. If James Robert Bell and Alice Bell Costner [don't get confused] were first cousins (children of brothers) then Martha Costner Parker and Laveda Bell Mize were 2nd cousins and Jimmy Mize and I are 3rd cousins. So 2nd cousins and 3rd cousins, not to mention all the old intermarrying of cousins back in the Revolutionary Adams-Ewart-Knox-Bell days. No one anywhere has given me a consanguinity chart so as to add different relations and average them out to what they actually equate to--here, somewhere more than second cousin but a good deal less than first cousin. There must be such a consanguinity chart somewhere!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Earthquake in the Magic Kingdom

10 minutes ago, an earthquake.
You have not known earthquakes until you experience one in an SF highrise or, as I did in 2005, on the dunes.
On the dunes you lurch queasily and remember what being drunk must have been like.  No alcohol, must be an earthquake.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mae West and Melville Biography

Am I the only living Melville biographer who has kissed any part of Mae West's living body?

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Shout-Out from Sendak and a Shout-Out to Him

In fragments of newspapers which the street boys are using to cover their heads and insulate their bodies in WE ARE ALL IN THE DUMPS with JACK AND GUY, a farewell to Jim Marshall, a tribute to two musicians, and a gesture to me, "PARKER WORKS." Permission to reproduce this fragment not yet applied for.

Maurice is in MELVILLE BIOGRAPHY: AN INSIDE NARRATIVE, all words written before he died. I'm sorry he never saw them.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Chapter from an Abortive Autobiography

30 March 2011--reposting 15 December 2012