Friday, June 21, 2013

A Summer Project for Melville Researchers--Any Takers?

Here is a little challenge—a SUMMER PROJECT that could win someone Temporary Provisional Immortality in a Northwestern-Newberry Historical Note--in the last chance for such factitious transitory immortality in the last such Historical Note to be published in our lifetimes.

No one has really demonstrated that Melville used Lanzi or Vasari in "At the Hostelry." Lanzi, of course, does not include the Dutch artists. By the time Melville had his own copy of Vasari, I am convinced, he had moved on beyond interest in the picturesque. Can you demonstrate otherwise? The 1871 purchase of the 1854 EMINENT MASTERS seems way too late for use in "At the Hostelry." Did he have access to parts of it in the late 1850s? When did he have parts of a periodical version bound up? Did he really use anything from the periodical version or the 1854 London edition for any of the details in "At the Hostelry"? How much did he rely on guidebooks? What other possible sources should scholars have checked out? Nowadays, the Internet resources await wise scanning!
Here is your chance to have a memorable story all the rest of your life about what you did all summer back in 2013. A Take Home or Take to the Library Topic:

Demonstrate what Melville's sources were for the characterizations in "At the Hostelry."

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