Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Melville's Carnival Neighborhood

Wyn Kelley


Treatments of the relationship between Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville have tended to focus on it as a failed friendship or aborted romance —as inspiring in Melville hopes and longings that Hawthorne could never fulfill. Viewed as a relationship between neighbors, not only friends or lovers, and seen through the prism of unconsidered works like Melville’s Israel Potter (1854­5, 1855) and “The Encantadas” (1854, 1856), the connection might look slightly different. For as neighbors Hawthorne and Melville may have found opportunities for greater freedom, fluidity, and festivity than friendship or love could always offer. Taking place in the carnival neighborhood of their redoubtable friend, Sarah Huyler Morewood, Hawthorne’s and Melville’s relationship may have explored some of her subversive energies as well.

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