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Civil War World of Herman Melville Stanton Garner

Civil War World of Herman Melville

Stanton Garner

Published October 1st 1993
ISBN : 9780700606023
Hardcover
560 pages
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 About the Book 

Contrary to popular belief, Stanton Garner contends, Herman Melville was not intellectually and emotionally detached from the war. In actuality, Melville brooded over the wars enormous brutality and destructive power. At the same time, his passionMoreContrary to popular belief, Stanton Garner contends, Herman Melville was not intellectually and emotionally detached from the war. In actuality, Melville brooded over the wars enormous brutality and destructive power. At the same time, his passion for writing, which had suffered greatly in the wake of his grand failures of the 1850s, revived. With renewed purpose, Melville saw an opportunity to establish himself as the prophet--poet of a rededicated America. The vehicle for this ambitious, and ultimately unfulfilled, enterprise was to be Battle-Pieces, an epically conceived book of poems that chronicles the war from John Browns raid on Harpers Ferry through Lincolns assassination.Drawing upon previously unknown or neglected archival sources, Garner places Melvilles experience within the larger contexts of his extended family, social circles, political beliefs, travels, and reading. He establishes Melvilles position in the rift among major Northern writers in which Emerson, Longfellow, Lowell, and Whittier were on one side and Melville, Hawthorne, and--to some extent--Whitman were on the other.By delving into the complexities and apparent contradictions of Melvilles personal life, Garner reveals why a man who was diametrically opposed to slavery refused to side with the abolitionists and maintained the anti-administration attitude predominant in his Democratic family while supporting the Union war effort.