Wednesday, May 15, 2019

A Book and 2 Articles about to come out.

The first article will be in LEVIATHAN
The second will be in SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
The book is the Library of America HERMAN MELVILLE: COMPLETE POEMS

Now, I do have a long article out that may very well be published in an excellent place.
I am polishing another long one.

I retired at the end of May 1998.  If you'
re not busy living you're busy dying.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

You never know what is going to come up on the computer. Hemingway? Yes, today, Hemingway.


The smokers nearly killed me. I changed my ticket to leave early but was prevailed upon to change it back. The most aggressive smoker died a few years later of lung cancer. I spent a lot of time running along a little green stream, alone. That may have been the most beautiful place I ever ran.

Projects you are glad you lived long enough to complete . . . . Proof of the Start of July 2019 LEVIATHAN article

What comes next is an image including the two lost books, THE ISLE OF THE CROSS and POEMS, to help Melville lovers think about the full trajectory of his career.

Friday, May 3, 2019

3 Pictures.GLOBAL WARMING: HUMIDITY (REMEMBER HUMIDITY) ARRIVES IN THE CENTRAL COAST

The ocean was dazzling blue as I left late (finishing endnotes for a Texian article). Five minutes later there was no parking lot and no path and no beach and no ocean, only five or six tourists stumbling up the path to find their cars. That was OK as long as you try not to tell who is real down there and who is a fog phantom, but then toward where the Rock should have been the fog lifted and the Carhartt shirt with the pocket for the phone got too hot and then I realized it was steamy. Chicago, New Orleans, New York--remember humidity? Then on the way back, half way, puffs of cool air come from the water and it was back to the Magic Kingdom, for now. I knew the riders were real when they asked me to take pictures of them against the fog, where the water should have been.




Monday, April 29, 2019

Very pleasant thing to read in AMERICAN AUDACITY by William Giraldi

I read the supercilious review of this new Giraldi book in TLS today and ordered it on Amazon Prime, even though I had to buy a kitchen knife to bring the free-shipping total up to the new requirement, $25. This was not in the  "Look Inside" feature but I found it on the Internet:


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

HOW CAN MARY BERRY BE ALIVE STILL?

SHE IS 8 MONTHS OLDER THAN ME! actually, she is a week older than my dear late cousin Lottie Cain.
Just checking her out because the season we are watching now, the one without her, has a terrible lout wandering around annoying everyone. We miss Mel and Sue but are toughing it out without them and without Mary.

WHAT THE DEVIL ARE YOU TRYING TO DO TO ME? ME AND MY COUSIN VALENTINE!



Cousin Meriwether McGehee and
Me.

In 1876 my cousin Colonel
Valentine Meriwether McGehee, a lawyer in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, died suddenly,
only 35.

He was interred in a metallic
case after the usual time. His funeral was about to take place on the second
night of his supposed death. After near thirty hours the watchers over his
remains were surprised and horrified by seeing the glass casing of the coffin
broken open and the appearance of the corpse's head thrust through the
aperture. The colonel spoke to ask, "What the Devil are you trying to do to me?" It is unnecessary to state that he was soon relieved from his
uncomfortable situation, and at last accounts he was in a fair way of recovery,
and is no doubt worth many dead men yet.


Final Death 14 November 1876. 

I don't know about genes but
I do believe in family traits being passed down. Many is the time I have asked,
"WHAT THE DEVIL ARE YOU TRYING TO DO TO ME?"

One time, in 1994, cost me a
broken wrist when I tried to run off the pain in the last snow and ice of the
year. The “flagship” journal AMERICAN LITERATURE arrived with a whole issue (March)
devoted to demolishing Melville as a writer to be studied.
 

       Paul Lauter laid the groundwork by a selection of
quotations supposedly from students:
 

“You really feel belittled when you are
reading Melville.” “I know this is art, and I can’t understand it.” “You feel
something’s wrong with you; that you’re missing something.”
 

My students seemed actively to dislike
Melville, to feel humiliated by the prose and ignorant before the dense web of
Melville’s allusive, syntactically intricte style and his convoluted plotting.

      That was the preface to the issue. But it was known
that I was writing a new biography of Melville, and in the 1988
Northwestern-Newberry MOBY-DICK I had written a wholly new account of
Melville’s meeting of Hawthorne in 1850 while the great book was in progress.
It was clear from that account that my biography would be based on hundreds of
new letters and many other new documents. It was clear, in particular, that I
was re-dating previous poorly understood or misunderstood accounts, such as the
assumption that Melville wrote the essay on Hawthorne before meeting him.

     So what did Julian Markels say? Page 115: “We can easily suppose
that Melville’s entire life to that point went into writing Moby-Dick and that everything known
about his life is relevant background. But we already have full-scale
biographies of Melville, and Hayford tells us here that Parker is writing a new
biography.”
 

Perhaps the cruelest and most
ignorant thing ever said about me, although there are many other candidates,
was the truly idiotic comment
BUT
WE ALREADY HAVE FULL-SCALE BIOGRAPHIES OF MELVILLE.”
 

          What the Devil were they trying to do to me? The intention of the powers at AMERICAN LITERATURE was clear: I was to be
shut down, and Melville was to be removed from the canon of American
Literature. Cousin Valentine Meriwether McGehee said it for me. I was hurt but not shut down. And if you look around you see that in the 21st century Melville has become a genuinely popular writer, as I describe in the 2017 3rd NORTON CRITICAL EDITION of Moby-Dick. And Goodness Gracious, the French for the last 2 years have had the Norton THE CONFIDENCE-MAN on their nation-wide agregation [one g but acute accent on the e] exam. Those involved are mostly still alive, doing other damage.



       

ALWAYS BEING RIGHT IS A TERRIBLE BURDEN. I TOLD YOU A SMOKER ON THE ROOF STARTED THE FIRE AT NOTRE DAME

Workers renovating Notre-Dame flouted a ban on smoking at the monument, a contractor admitted on Wednesday, while denying any link with last week's devastating blaze that ripped through the cathedral.


"There were colleagues who from time to time broke the rules and we regret it," a spokesman for scaffolding company Le Bras Freres told AFP, before adding: "in no way could a cigarette butt be the cause of the fire at Notre-Dame".



DID I TELL YOU? I TOLD YOU THE MOMENT THE NEWS OF THE FIRE CAME. TANYONE WHO KNOWS THE FRENCH KNEW THAT IT WAS ONE OR TWO OR MORE GAULOISES (FLICKED OH SO ELEGANTLY AWAY TO THAT 900 YEAR OLD PILE OF KINDLING). A FRENCHMAN NOT SMOKING ON TOP OF NOTRE DAME? IMPOSSIBLE.