Partial Answers - Homepage Journal of Literature and The History of Ideas The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

 Volume 16/2, includes forum on Monika Fludernik's Towards a 'Natural' Narratology
 June 2018

 Volume 16/1 includes forum "Modernity and Mobility: Victorian Women Traveling"
 January 2018

 Volume 15/2
 June 2017

 Volume 15/1: includes forum "Audionarratology"
 January 2017

 Volume 14/2: includes forum "Modern Jewish Spaces"
 June 2016

 Volume 14/1: includes forum "Saul Bellow as a Novelist of Ideas"
 January 2016

 Volume 13/2: includes forum "Comics and the Canon"
 June 2015

 Volume 13/1: includes forum "TheGhetto as a Victorian Text"
 January 2015

 Volume 12/2: includes forum "The Novel and Theories of Love"
 June 2014

 Volume 12/1
 January 2014

 Volume 11/2: includes forum "Translating Philip Roth"
 June 2013

 Volume 11/1
 January 2013

 Volume 10/2: includes forum "Bildung and the State"
 June 2012

 Volume 10/1: includes forum "Fernando Pessoa and the Issue of Heteronymy
 January 2012

 Volume 9/2: Dickens: Uneasy Pleasures
 June 2011

 Volume 9/1
 January 2011

 Volume 8/2: British Women Writers
 June 2010

 Volume 8/1 includes forum "The Ethics of Temporality"
 January 2010

 Volume 7/2: Eyewitness Narratives
 June 2009

 Volume 7/1
 January 2009

 Volume 6/2: Narrative Knowing, Living, Telling
 June 2008

 Volume 6/1
 January 2008

 Volume 5/2
 June 2007

 Volume 5/1
 January 2007

 Volume 4/2: Narrative as a Way of Thinking
 June 2006

 Volume 4/1
 January 2006

 Volume 3/2
 June 2005

 Volume 3/1
 January 2005

 Volume 2/2
 June 2004

 Volume 2/1
 January 2004

 Volume 1/2
 June 2003

 Volume 1/1
 January 2003

 Quick Article Search

   Newest Articles

 Railway Crossings
 Kathryn W. Powell

 Written in the Stars? Women Travellers and Forgers of Destinies in Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries
 Barbara Franchi

 Sea Travel and Femininity in Gail Jones’ Sixty Lights
 Daný van Dam

 Then and Now
 Murray Baumgarten

 Modernity and Mobility
 Murray Baumgarten and Barbara Franchi

 Samuel Beckett’s Invention of Nothing
 Jacob Hovind

 The Jewish Petenera
 Einat Davidi

 The Sound of Translation
 Alexander Ullman

Get Adobe Reader

Updated Up To 23/01/2018
Volume 8, Number 1 (January 2010) : 39--65
The Not-So-Modern Proto-Modern:
The Intertextual Geography of Herman Melville’s Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War
Robert Arbour
Rubric A: Topoi



Like most of his work, Herman Melville’s notoriously unpopular 1866 volume of Civil War poetry Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War has traditionally been read strictly under the rubric of Modernism. Within this framework, scholars generally conclude that this disjunctive volume of poetry is wholly inferior to Melville’s prose.  In this essay, I depart from the conventional reading of Melville, redefining him as a poet necessarily embedded in the nineteenth-century tradition of sentimentalism. I suggest that the unpopularity of Battle-Pieces, both in 1866 and today, stems from the invitation Melville extends to readers to enter a sentimental text even as he revises the very notion of sentimentality. By considering Battle-Pieces, a highly visual text, in the context of the artistic expectations accompanying a sentimental tradition with roots in Fireside poetry, I suggest that in his poetry Melville does not abandon the familial mode on which sentimentality is based. Rather, in mapping out an intertextual landscape in Battle-Pieces, Melville calls attention to the postbellum failure of the sentimental universality that was once a foundational principle of a coherent and communal national identity. As a poet responding to the sentimental expectations of his readers, Melville interrogates both a crisis in national unity and a crisis in the notion of national universality that underpins sentimental art.

 All Rights Reserved to The Hebrew University of Jerusalem- Partial Answers © 2004. Powered By Priza

The Johns Hopkins University Press