Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/288970
Title:
Emerson and Melville: "A correspondent coloring"
Author:
Kang, Meekyung Yoon
Issue Date:
1999
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This study examines Emerson's influence on Melville's works from Mardi through The Confidence-Man. Each work demonstrates Melville's deep concern and keen interest in Emerson's optimistic idealism and transcendentalism and documents his changing attitude toward key Emersonian concepts. Melville questions and interprets Emerson's ideas of self-reliance and subjectivity and explores in detail Emerson's way of seeing nature and the world. Since Emerson's epistemology and ontology are epitomized in the images of "eye" and "star," Melville utilizes these images to express his response to and interpretation of Emerson. In this process he suggests the ways in which both men were geniuses of their times and possessed "a correspondent coloring." As generations of critics have noticed, Emerson's influence on Melville's work is prominent and pervasive, but it is also, at times implicit and ambiguous. In my reading of the novels, I explore the way in which Melville at once acknowledges Emerson's influence and calls a number of his crucial concepts into question. Central here are Emerson's theories of seeing and reading, problems of perception and interpretation. Though Melville agrees with Emerson's idea of the world as "an open book" or a text, he is suspicious of reading that book, for, as Melville understands it, nature is indecipherable or inscrutable. As a creative reader and a creative writer, Melville devotes his career to an attempt to write the great American work that Emerson had called for in the "American Scholar." Each of the novels I examine embodies Melville's careful and close reading and critical interpretation of Emerson and his works. Since Melville recognized Emerson as an "uncommon man" and a "great man," he was attracted to his ideas and his works. However, as his career developed, he became more and more aware of what he had called Emerson's "gaping flaw," and that flaw for Melville involved Emerson's influence on the current literary culture as well as Emerson's ideas as such. By the time of The Confidence-Man he had lost his faith in Emerson and the literary world he had come to represent.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Literature, Comparative.; Literature, American.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; English
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Dryden, Edgar A.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen_US
dc.titleEmerson and Melville: "A correspondent coloring"en_US
dc.creatorKang, Meekyung Yoonen_US
dc.contributor.authorKang, Meekyung Yoonen_US
dc.date.issued1999en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis study examines Emerson's influence on Melville's works from Mardi through The Confidence-Man. Each work demonstrates Melville's deep concern and keen interest in Emerson's optimistic idealism and transcendentalism and documents his changing attitude toward key Emersonian concepts. Melville questions and interprets Emerson's ideas of self-reliance and subjectivity and explores in detail Emerson's way of seeing nature and the world. Since Emerson's epistemology and ontology are epitomized in the images of "eye" and "star," Melville utilizes these images to express his response to and interpretation of Emerson. In this process he suggests the ways in which both men were geniuses of their times and possessed "a correspondent coloring." As generations of critics have noticed, Emerson's influence on Melville's work is prominent and pervasive, but it is also, at times implicit and ambiguous. In my reading of the novels, I explore the way in which Melville at once acknowledges Emerson's influence and calls a number of his crucial concepts into question. Central here are Emerson's theories of seeing and reading, problems of perception and interpretation. Though Melville agrees with Emerson's idea of the world as "an open book" or a text, he is suspicious of reading that book, for, as Melville understands it, nature is indecipherable or inscrutable. As a creative reader and a creative writer, Melville devotes his career to an attempt to write the great American work that Emerson had called for in the "American Scholar." Each of the novels I examine embodies Melville's careful and close reading and critical interpretation of Emerson and his works. Since Melville recognized Emerson as an "uncommon man" and a "great man," he was attracted to his ideas and his works. However, as his career developed, he became more and more aware of what he had called Emerson's "gaping flaw," and that flaw for Melville involved Emerson's influence on the current literary culture as well as Emerson's ideas as such. By the time of The Confidence-Man he had lost his faith in Emerson and the literary world he had come to represent.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectLiterature, Comparative.en_US
dc.subjectLiterature, American.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineEnglishen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorDryden, Edgar A.en_US
dc.identifier.proquest9927478en_US
dc.identifier.bibrecord.b39560454en_US
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