Thursday, June 25, 2015

Copying Melville: Tokyo conference paper, expanded version


おはようございます。Here is the expanded and embellished version of my conference paper. Posted this morning, from Tokyo!

Copying Melville: Literary Theft and Romantic Anti-imperialism in Kinahan Cornwallis’
Two Journeys to Japan, 1856-7 


"All texts come from preceding texts."
--Toshio Yagi, paraphrasing Melville's observation in The Confidence-Man that 
"all life is from the egg." / "Moby-Dick as a Mosaic" in  Melville and Melville Studies in Japan p93

"He is a strikingly handsome man of English type, tall and admirably proportioned, and one of the most gentlemanly, agreeable and entertaining cosmopolites I ever met."
-- J. H. Elliott ("Vidette") on the elder Kinahan Cornwallis (1839-1917)

This is what can happen when you search in Google Books for Herman Melville and Japan. Using the19th century filter brings up a review in the London Spectator alleging plagiarism of Melville’s Typee in a book called Two Journeys to Japan, 1856-7 by Kinahan Cornwallis (1839-1917). Then via JSTOR you find the first and still best scholarship available in the 1941 article by Joseph Koshimi Yamagiwa that my paper builds on, Cornwallis' Account of Japan: A Forgery and its Exposure in Monumenta Nipponica 4.1 (January 1941): 124-132.
Joseph K. Yamagiwa
Photo Credit: University of Michigan
Yamagiwa, the Seattle-born pioneer of Japanese studies at the University of Michigan, shows how right early British reviewers were when they accused the young Cornwallis (barely twenty) of literary fraud. To make a book of his doubtful visits, Cornwallis brazenly stole from Hildreth’s Japan as it was and is, the Perry Narrative (from which he copied illustrations as well as text), Tomes’s abridgment, and other popular books on Japan in English. Obvious copying from Herman Melville’s Typee stuffs the final chapter which recounts a fabricated “After Journey” to Nookoora (Melville’s Nukuheva). Nevertheless, with Cornwallis as with Melville’s elusive Confidence Man, little of negative criticism ever seemed to stick, or detract from his transoceanic success as a literary cosmopolitan.

Cornwallis's "After Journey" in Nookoora takes up the last ninety of three hundred pages in volume 2 (209-300) of Two Journeys to Japan. As shown below in Appendix 1, the sequence of plagiarized material ranges through most of Melville’s first book, extending from almost the beginning to almost the end, and using material borrowed from at least 25 of Melville’s original 34 chapters (excluding the original Appendix and later Sequel). Considering how much of Typee is indebted to narratives of travel by other writers, extensive uncredited borrowings by Cornwallis exemplify a kind of double plagiarism or plagiarism plagiarized. How might that work? Does one plagiarism ever cancel out the other—in any sense, mathematically perhaps, or existentially, or aesthetically?

Romantic Anti-Imperialism

Anti-imperialism is one feature of Typee Cornwallis keeps, sort of. In brief, Cornwallis de-poeticizes Melville’s Rousseauean critique of civilization—starting with the subtitle which literalizes Melville’s romantic “Peep” as “A Single Glimpse.” Registering the influence of John Stuart Mill and like-minded liberals, Cornwallis exhibits a socio-economic agenda closer to the reform mode of Melville's Redburn and White-Jacket than Typee. Expanding Melville’s claims in Typee for “savage” over “civilized” virtue, Cornwallis explicitly criticizes mal-distribution of wealth in the industrial age and looks for improvement through a long evolutionary process of social “regeneration.” Lawyer-like, he added a qualifying loophole to Melville’s view that “Civilization does not engross all the virtues of humanity.” Civilization as such is not the problem, but civilization “as we at present find it.” This added phrase allows room for rational social improvement over the long haul, and effectively places Cornwallis in the company of busy reformers whom Melville (in manuscript only) described with mock deference as “those political economists & public spirited Philosophers who are engaged in putting to rights this most imperfectly constituted planet of ours" (MS Leaf 17v p34; facsimile and transcript in John Bryant's Melville Unfolding 432-3).

The social "regeneration" Cornwallis desires for England will eventually happen, he believes, not through revolution but a lengthy "process" of reform over "a long time":
I am by no means a savage in my tastes; and, although I have been an observer of much that is wild and aboriginal, I am personally as much a lover of the luxuries and refinements of civilisation as I should be the reverse to become the occupant of a gunya, or wigwam, or any such similar habitation, or to engage myself in climbing after cocoa nuts in a suit of bright tattoo; but I say again that although there is less enlightenment, the practice of the virtues of our species is more rife among the members of a barbarous than a civilised people. This is a plain incontrovertible fact, and its existence is a melancholy subject to reflect upon, showing as it does the imperfection of our present system of society — I use the word in its broadest sense — and the need it has of regeneration. This last is a very sermon-like word to use, but, reader, it expresses the very thing which, in this year of grace eighteen hundred and fifty-nine, we all want, both as men and nations; the probability, however, is, that we shall have to wait a long time for it— in other words, that the process will be a very slow one, and that more than one generation will pass away before there is much appearance of the re-generation. Such is life. --Two Journeys to Japan vol 2 p287
As Karla Decker observes of The New El Dorado, Cornwallis’s similarly dubious 1858 narrative of exploration in California and British Columbia:
“His account of his time in BC is noteworthy for his admiration of the Natives and sympathy for their plight, as well as an awareness of being part of the reason for their decline.” --Heart of the Cariboo
Cornwallis's reform agenda is vaguely liberal, his pro-native views more definite though somewhat incongruous with prior assignments in the British colonial service and lifelong enthusiasm for Anglo-American causes. Oddly enough, Typee enlisted Melville in a literary branch of the same colonial service via John Murray’s “Colonial Library,” advertised as a “Library for the Empire.”

After the Civil War Cornwallis (now a New York lawyer and newspaper editor) persisted in the character of dedicated reformer as evidenced by public mentions in the centennial year 1876 as co-founder of the National Reform League. Led by prominent Republicans and literary celebrities like Parke Godwin and G. W. Curtis, this agency through various incarnations lobbied for civil service reforms and “honest government.” Ironically, one large target of these civil service reformers was the scandalized Custom House where Melville then had been working as honestly as he could for ten years.

Cornwallis condemns European “usurpers and invaders,” accentuating the anti-imperialist strain of Typee. Even so, his legacy of pro-nationalism in the service of Empire is complex and difficult to fix. More than a few complexities are reflected in the military and diplomatic career of his son and better-remembered namesake, Sir Kinahan Cornwallis (1883-1959). That’s quite another story, but I can’t help wondering if the future head of the British “Arab Bureau” got his father’s version of Typee (with his gingerbread?), and what books he might have talked about with his quasi-mythical colleague in the Foreign Office, T. E. Lawrence.

Literary Theft

So much for anti-imperialism. Now for the practice of literary theft as imitation of Melville's practice. So-called literary plagiarism has long been excused, sometimes extolled as, in the words of Marilyn Randall, "a kind of pleasing oxymoron expressing the transformative power of aesthetic genius" (Pragmatic Plagiarism, 6). In that forgiving spirit the London Spectator (the same journal that later outed Cornwallis for stealing from Typee) alleged plagiarism from Swift by Melville in Mardi, but minded the lack of improvement, not the supposed theft:
“It is not plagiarism that is the ground of censure; it is the manner in which the “conveyed” goods are disfigured and deprived of value without gaining any character in place of what is lost.”  --London Spectator, review of Mardi in Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews, ed. Brian Higgins and Hershel Parker.
Fans of Mardi might object to the verdict, but traditional source study embraces the reviewer's premise that creative transformation of one's source potentially adds aesthetic if not market value. And Melville scholarship is built on source study, exemplified in foundational contributions by Charles Roberts AndersonMary K. BercawGail H. CofflerHennig CohenMerton M. SealtsHoward P. Vincent, and Nathalia Wright.

But critics now tend to reject the old "improving" excuse. As Elizabeth Renker has argued, exalting the work of Melville in relation to any supposed source needlessly devalues the original production of another writer and its original place in the cultural and historical mix. For critics shy of co-signing with culturally-determined value judgments, plagiarism has to be legitimized on different grounds than aesthetic. Instead of plagiarism as art, how about plagiarism as craft?

John Bryant’s idea of the “fluid text” encourages treatment of “plagiarism or textual appropriation as a form of revision” (Melville Unfolding 201). Bryant teaches us how to look profitably at Melville’s takings from Charles S. Stewart and David Porter as creative acts of revision, not criminal acts like kidnapping, piracy or robbery. Investigation of the way Cornwallis plagiarizes, that is, revises Melville—what he cuts, changes, keeps—may reveal something of his agenda right before the launch of a glittering literary and legal career in Melville’s New York City. On the flip side, the actual mechanics, the “nuts and bolts” of plagiarizing Typee may also highlight interesting qualities of Melville’s writing.

Here then are four kinds of revision to Melville’s text:
1. Sex and humor quashed.
2. Proper Names erased.
3. Present tense verbs changed to past tense.
4. Figurative language eliminated, including metaphors, similes and assorted classical allusions.
(There are more than four, of course. Taboo as insoluble mystery is carefully avoided throughout, along with all Melville’s melodrama of captivity and cannibalism.)

Keeping in mind a possible aesthetics of plagiarism plagiarized, we might look out along the way for specific instances where one act of revision cancels something Melville did in revision of his sources. All four categories involve deletion. Using twenty five chapters over ninety pages demands compression, necessarily, but the choice of what to cut may indicate the motive.

Although Cornwallis revives Melville’s discarded (in the Revised American edition) complaints against missionaries, he censors the other hot topic of sexuality, and the humor that goes with it. One passage of sex and innuendo in Melville’s chapter 2 gets shut down with comical abruptness.The reaction of Melville’s narrator Tommo at the end of Chapter 2 is full of sexual teasing and tension as everyone observes. It starts with a bawdy pun on “tumbling” that Melville would later cut. Cornwallis also cut it, along with the rest of Melville’s morally and psychologically conflicted account of dancing, drinking, and “debauchery.” Copying Melville verbatim, Cornwallis depicts female islanders who board the Dolly as attractive “mermaids” and “swimming nymphs,”clothed when clothed at all in suggestively “loose folds of white tappa." In Melville’s version the crew surrender gladly to the mermaids. Cornwallis goes so far as to marvel with Melville at “their inexpressibly graceful figures” and “softly moulded limbs." However, in order to forestall the drinking, dancing, and "debauchery" that ensues in Typee, Cornwallis brings in a fast-thinking ship's commander who instantly locks them up:
Their appearance was a matter of astonishment. Their extreme youth, the light clear brown of their complexion, their delicate features, and inexpressibly graceful figures, their softly moulded limbs, and free, unstudied action, seemed as strange as beautiful.
They were all very properly put under guard while on board, our commander not liking to turn them into the water again; and, as soon as we anchored, they were sent on shore, some in boats, the rest swimming.  --Two Journeys to Japan, vol 2 p214
VERY PROPERLY PUT UNDER GUARD is not in Melville’s version.

In chapter 6 of The After Journey when copying mostly verbatim from Melville’s chapter 25, Cornwallis skips Melville’s allusions to sexually transmitted diseases introduced by Europeans on other islands. Consecutive paragraphs by Cornwallis jump from observations of the islanders' white teeth and height to light complexion whereas in-between those same admiring observations Melville pauses to deplore STD’s as terrible  “foreign inflictions.”

Much further along, chapter 25, Melville describes “nearly naked damsels” who turn green from their use of an organic product for lightening one's complexion, made as he learned in Stewart's A Visit to the South Seas from the juice of the “papa” vine (which Melville turns into a "root"). In revision Cornwallis transforms Melville’s group of practically “naked damsels” to a single “young lady” undergoing the same process. Cornwallis loses the nudity and the jokes. Copying just the facts, he leaves out the personified vegetable Melville imaginatively added in his revision of Stewart:
“To look at one of them you would almost suppose she was some vegetable in an unripe state; and that, instead of living in the shade for ever, she ought to be placed out in the sun to ripen.”  --Typee chapter 25
Cornwallis favors the detached stance of ethnographer over the subjective and shifting viewpoint of Melville’s narrator Tommo. As a kind of amateur anthropologist, Cornwallis can allow Melville’s observation of the plurality of husbands as a safe matter of fact, but he forgoes Melville’s fun in dramatizing the love lives, real or imagined, of his island hosts.
“The males I found considerably outnumbered the females, the result of which is that each of the latter has two husbands.” --Two Journeys p 294 / paraphrasing Typee chapter 26
Another of Melville’s bits rejected as too silly and too risqué is the one about vestal virgins at the end of the much-discussed passage where Kory-Kory starts a fire by rubbing sticks together. Judicious revision by Cornwallis again places Melville “under guard.” Melville we know put himself under guard, voluntarily, as David Ketterer explained then-new manuscript evidence in his 1987 article on Censorship and Symbolism in Typee Revisited (also noticed by the late Robert K. Martin in Hero, Captain, and Stranger). In manuscript Melville moderated the overt equation of Kory-Kory’s successful work with “climax” by changing “attains his climax” to “approaches the climax of his efforts.”

The fire-starting scene of “The After Journey” appears displaced from its original context. Erasing the daily massage that Tommo describes before Kory-Kory’s performance, Cornwallis methodically sets his revised fire-starting episode in-between passages on the manufacture of native cloth and methods of preparing bread-fruit. In their new order, these sections seem logically connected as dispassionate surveys of indigenous practices. No massage for this narrator, and no jokes about recruiting vestal virgins to keep the flame. Still under guard, Cornwallis permits only sober admiration for the anonymous fire-starter:
“I had no cause to do otherwise than admire such dexterous perseverance.”
After censorship of sex and humor, a second wholesale change is the refusal to name any character in Melville’s book. Every one is gone: Fayaway, Kory-Kory, Mehevi, Marheyo, Marnoo. Toby and even Tommo nominally vanish in revision. If Cornwallis hoped to disguise his theft by leaving out famous names, he must have been disappointed when reviewers recognized Typee without them. This device of un-naming highlights an interesting feature of Melville’s aesthetic as romancer and rewriter: he likes to name people. Even relatively minor characters. Mehevi’s lover, the “prettiest little witch in the valley” has a name: (remember it, anyone?) Moonoony; so do the cocoa-nut tree-climbers, Narnee and Too Too. Presumably Melville invents most of these names, or adapts them—as when he calls himself Tommo in memory of his first cousin. That real-life Thomas Melville sailed the South Seas with Mathew Fontaine Maury whose older brother John Minor Maury was stranded at Nuku Hiva where Porter found him in 1813, living like Too-Too in the cocoa-nut trees. In Moby-Dick, as Howard P. Vincent remarks (The Trying-Out of Moby Dick pp 235; 325-6; and 346), Melville variously re-baptizes William Scoresby, one of his main whaling authorities, as Captain Sleet, Fogo Von Slack, Professor Snodhead, and Zogranda the Eskimo doctor.

A third aspect of Melville’s style highlighted by contrast is the writer’s trick of using the present tense even when describing past actions. In passages on natural cosmetics and (as Bryan C. Short points out) fire-starting, Melville ably uses present-tense verbs for dramatic effect, intensifying the reader’s perception of immediacy. Revising Typee and evidently perceiving some need to restore objectivity, Cornwallis switches Melville’s present back to past. Past-tense verbs in “The After Journey” effect distance (emotional perhaps as well as temporal) and affirm the narrator’s assumed role as roving ethnographer, reporting observations and events that happened in what now is history.

All the while, ironically, he is plagiarizing revising Melville’s plagiarisms revisions.

The “revision sites” (Bryant’s useful term) where Cornwallis makes the present past also offer examples of one plagiarism cancelling out another. For instance, in revision of Stewart on cosmetics, Melville changed Stewart’s word females to girls; but then Cornwallis changed Melville's girls back to females. Plagiarism of plagiarism again results in zero net change in the fire-starting scene. One of Melville’s likely sources (Craik’s The New-Zealanders, so identified by Geoffrey Sanborn in the New Riverside Typee) refers to the person doing the hard work of producing a spark through friction as "the operator." Cornwallis uses the same designation. Masking Melville's Kory-Kory as “the operator” restores the exact wording in Melville's source-text and with it restores the original focus on the action, rather than the person as somebody worth knowing.


Present to Past, Example #1 
Melville in the PRESENT:
Those of the young girls who resort to this method of heightening their charms, never expose themselves to the rays of the sun. --Typee, chapter 25
Cornwallis makes it PAST:
Those of the young females who resorted to this method of heightening their charms, never exposed themselves to the rays of the sun. --Two Journeys vol 2 p 292
At this revision site we find Cornwallis restoring a word that Melville changed in revision of his source, Stewart's A Visit to the South Seas:
But the uncommon fairness of many of the females is the result of an artificial process, followed by an almost entire seclusion from the sun.  (Vol. 1 p256)
As noted above, Melville changed Stewart's word females to girls, then Cornwallis changed Melville's girls back to females. In this case plagiarism of plagiarism does equal zero change.

Present to Past, Example #2
Melville in the PRESENT:
As he approaches the climax of his effort, he pants and gasps for breath, and his eyes almost start from their sockets with the violence of his exertions. --Typee, chapter 14
Cornwallis makes it PAST:
As he approached the climax of his effort, he panted and gasped for breath, and his eyes almost started from their sockets with the violence of his exertions. --Two Journeys vol 2 p 259
As noted above, the original description in Craik's The New Zealanders employs past-tense verbs and also describes the fire-starter as "the operator":
"The process was evidently one of very great labour: at the conclusion of it, the operator was streaming with perspiration...."
Melville names his fire-starter Kory Kory, whom Cornwallis only refers to as "the operator":
The next moment, a delicate wreath of smoke curled spirally into the air, the heaps of dusty particles glowed with fire, and the operator, almost breathless, dismounted from his seat on the inclined plane. --Two Journeys to Japan, vol 2 pp 259-60
Fourth and final category: deletion of figurative language. In the fire-starting scene, Cornwallis deletes two horse images that bracket Melville’s telling: the first, when Kory-Kory straddles his Hibiscus stick “like an urchin about to gallop off on a cane”; and the second, when Kory-Kory “dismounts from his steed.” Cornwallis un-names and unhorses Kory-Kory by drily describing only the anonymous “operator” who “dismounted from his seat on the inclined plane.”

Copying directly from Typee, Cornwallis depicts embalmed heads as having “the appearance of being well smoked” but omits Melville’s metaphorical extension that figures the head as a chimney-smoked ham. Just in revision of Melville’s breadfruit section Cornwallis deleted images of the bread-fruit tree as “patriarchal elm” tree of New England, of leaves scalloped like “a lady’s lace collar”; of rinds textured like “the knobs on an antiquated church door”; and of roasting breadfruit “the same way that you would roast a potato.”

Washington Elm / Image Credit: Digital History Project
Also lost in revision are the runaway sailors as Belzoni in Egypt exploring the catacombs, Marnoo as the statue of Apollo, and Mehevi as "Warwick, feasting his retainers with beef and ale." (Typee ch.23)

Ironically, the deletion of classical allusions and figurative language by Cornwallis when copying Melville also imitates Melville’s practice of self-censorship. In manuscript, as discussed independently by Hershel Parker (Herman Melville: A Biography Vol 1 p367-8) and John Bryant (Melville Unfolding, p167), we know Melville introduced classical references to the titan Prometheus and goddess Ceres, as well as a curious dinosaur simile, comparing the generosity of his host Marheyo to that of an English gentleman whose abundant table reveals the extra-large "heart of a mastodon." (A similar idea recurs in chapter 23 when Melville compares King Mehevi's generous provisions at The Feast of Calabashes to the famous feasts hosted by the Earl of Warwick, Bulwer's Last of the Barons.) Both Mehevi as Warwick and Marheyo as country squire remain in printed editions of Typee, but the mastodon was made extinct before publication of the first edition.
New York Mammoth by Alexander Anderson, c. 1802
Image Credit: Common-place: Peale's Mastodon

Even if Melville had kept those Greeks and that mastodon, Cornwallis surely would have cut them, too—but Melville, working out his own re-writing process, saved him the trouble.

Nonetheless, abundant signs of literary style remained in the text of Melville's first book, more than enough to fuel early doubts about the veracity of his narrative. Great read! But then too good to be true. Melville edited himself, to be sure, but Cornwallis’s disciplined and purposeful deletions call attention to the creative work Melville performs by, in John Bryant’s words, “Westernizing Typee.” What Melville Westernizes, and thereby makes more familiar to his contemporary western readers, Cornwallis—well, Easternizes, if only by making Nookoora/Typee the last stop on his imaginary tour of Japan. More accurately though, what Melville Westernizes and Romanticizes and Sentimentalizes, (as Sheila Post-Lauria demonstrates, domesticating through conventions of sentimental fiction), Cornwallis Anthro-pologizes safely back into a primitive, eternally foreign landscape inhabited by anonymous “aborigines.”

The adjective aboriginal occurs at least four times in the plagiarism of Typee; aborigine/s twice as a singular or plural noun. Melville calls them islanders, natives, even savages, but nowhere aborigines, terminology that Cornwallis transfers from colonial source-books on Australia. 

Case in point: his unnamed handsome warrior makes a sudden and wordless exit, heading back into the woods “with a wave of the spear hand.” By contrast, Melville’s Marnoo gets a name, and a voice, and an audience of good listeners who delight in his display of verbal mastery. After which, as if to complete Melville's perfect island dream, the Apollo of Polynesia lingers with the narrator for a sociable chat.
Coincidentally, when Two Journeys to Japan came out in early 1859 Melville was again taking Typee public, this time on the lecture circuit. Melville’s “South Seas” lecture ended with a vision of Paradise:
“… I hope that these Edens of the South Seas, blessed with fertile soils and peopled with happy natives, many being yet uncontaminated by the contact of civilization, will long remain unspoiled in their simplicity, beauty, and purity.” --Sealts, Melville as Lecturer, p180

Speaking of Japanese aesthetics, as Melville almost seems to have been doing in his verbal turn to the virtues of “simplicity, beauty, and purity,” I read somewhere the Haiku poet “beautifully expands one’s view of the world.” I think Cornwallis does try to make his revised Typee more beautiful on the final page. Despite his mournful view of Melville’s hope as a vain one his story ends metaphorically, after all, with the most familiar of tropes for a sad and beautiful world: the last word is “Eden.”

Ando Hiroshige - Tokaido Hoeido Edition - 17 Yui
Image Credit: hiroshige.org.uk


For all that, Two Journeys to Japan is not without a spice of juvenile humor. Something of Melville's insinuating way surfaces here and there in the main story. In describing bath-house scenes in Nagasaki (Vol 2, pp. 96-99), Cornwallis appears to be striving for the effect of Tommo's free sailor style. Cornwallis imitates Melville by inventing names, Noskotoska and Sondoree, for his Nagasaki guides, and by making a show of tolerantly enduring the unfamiliar experience of public bathing with both sexes.

One unexpected bit of comedy may be found in the illustrations. Cornwallis represents these as his original drawings, but in fact they are copied from originals in the Perry narrative, as Yamagiwa noticed. Compare this original print of a "Street in Hakodadi" (Hakodate, Hokkaido) from the Perry volume...

with this drawing below of "A Street in Simoda" from Two Journeys to Japan:


Illustration in Two Journeys to Japan, vol 2 p84

Who's that in the tub?


It's not hard to imagine the young gentleman in the formerly empty barrel or tub as the artist-writer himself. In which case we have a pictorial representation in miniature of the writer-as-plagiarist who makes a place for himself in the text even when copying word for word.

Main Works Cited

Bryant, John. Melville Unfolding: Sexuality, Politics, and the Versions of Typee. University of Michigan Press, 2008

Cornwallis, Kinahan. Two Journeys to Japan, 1856-7. Two volumes. London: Thomas Cautley Newby, 1859.

Hawks, Francis Lister. Narrative of the expedition of an American squadron to the China seas and Japan, under the command of Commodore M.C. Perry, United States Navy. Washington, 1856.

Ketterer, David. Censorship and Symbolism in Typee Revisited: The New Manuscript Evidence. Melville Society Extracts 69 (February 1987): 6-8.

Martin, Robert K. Hero, Captain, and Stranger: Male Friendship, Social Critique, and Literary Form in the Sea Novels of Herman Melville. University of North Carolina Press, 1986 / 2010.

Melville, Herman. Typee; or, A narrative of a four month's residence among the natives of a valley of the Marquesas Islands; or, A peep at Polynesian life. London: John Murray, 1847.

Parker, Hershel. Herman Melville: A Biography. Volume 1, 1819-1851. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.

Post-Lauria, Sheila. Correspondent Colorings: Melville in the Marketplace. University of Massachusetts Press, 1996.

Randall, Marilyn. Pragmatic Plagiarism: Authorship, Profit, and Power. University of Toronto Romance Series. University of Toronto, 2001.

Renker, Elizabeth. Melville and the Worlds of Civil War Poetry. Leviathan 16.1 (March 2014): 135-52.

Sanborn, Geoffrey, ed. Typee. New Riverside Editions. Houghton Mifflin, 2004.

Short, Bryan C. "'The Author at the Time': Tommo and Melville's Self-Discovery in Typee." Texas Studies in Literature and Language (Fall 1989): 386-405.
Yagi, Toshio. Moby-Dick as a Mosaic. In Kenzaburo Ohashi, ed., Melville and Melville Studies in Japan. Greenwood Press, 1993. 69-98.

Yamagiwa, J. K. Cornwallis' Account of Japan: A Forgery and its ExposureMonumenta Nipponica 4.1 (January 1941): 124-132.

Appendix 1: 

SEQUENCE OF PLAGIARIZED MATERIAL FROM MELVILLE'S TYPEE in Two Journeys to Japan vol. 2 / pages 209-300

Chapter 2 Bay of Nukuheva ("Nookoora")
Chapter 4
Chapter 1 King Mowanna (“Rowanna”) and tattooed Queen
Chapter 6 Beautiful scenery around Nukuheva
Chapter 7 Alarm at finding a footpath
Chapter 8 Disheartening prospect
Chapter 9 Perilous Passage of the Ravine—Descent into the Valley
Chapter 10 The Head of the Valley
Chapter 11 A Warrior in His Costume
Chapter 17 Civilized and Savage Life Contrasted / Their Happiness
Chapter 26 Embalming / Places of Sepulture / Funeral Obsequies at Nukuheva
Chapter 19 Process of Making Tappa
Chapter 14 Striking a Light
Chapter 15 Bread-fruit
Chapter 22 Preparations for a Grand Festival-Monument of Calabashes
Chapter 23 Feast of the Calabashes
Chapter 10 Mehevi (unnamed) on how to eat Poee-Poee (“kee-kee”)
Chapter 23 Hoolah-Hoolah
Chapter 31 Swimming Infant
Chapter 21 Antiquities
Chapter 24 Effigy of a Warrior
Chapter 29 Climbing a Cocoanut Tree
Chapter 31 Nasal Flute
Chapter 25 Primitive simplicity
Chapter 27 Social condition and general character of the Typees
Chapter 18 A Stranger arrives in the Valley (Marnoo, unnamed)
Chapter 25 Fairness of the Women
Chapter 26 System of Marriage

Appendix 2: Biographical Extras

Under the heading LITERARY THEFTS, Boston Evening Transcript, Wednesday, March 16, 1859:
The Century reports that a book has appeared in London entitled “Two Journeys to Japan, 1856-7, by Kinahan Cornwallis,” which is so freely pillaged from Herman Melville’s “Typee” and Dr. Tomes’s abridgement of Perry’s Japan Expedition, that doubts may very fairly be entertained of the writer’s having travelled to the scenes he pretends to describe, or, in fact, of there being any such author at all. The Spectator exposes the passages from Melville, in parallel columns, and is inclined to treat the writer with incredulity; the Athenaeum, on the contrary, is very respectful. It looks like a sheer publisher’s job, got up “to order.”
J. H. Elliott ("Vidette") on Kinahan Cornwallis; from Elliott's pseudonymous column of "Gotham Gossip" in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Tuesday, September 5, 1983. Printed under the sub-heading, "A Cosmopolite of Renown":
"He is a strikingly handsome man of English type, tall and admirably proportioned, and one of the most gentlemanly, agreeable and entertaining cosmopolites I ever met."
Most details about Cornwallis in the Times-Picayune column by "Vidette" are drawn from a report in the New York Herald, Friday, September 1, 1893:
Kinahan Cornwallis, editor and proprietor of the Daily Investigator, one of the oldest metropolitan dailies devoted to affairs in Wall street, is slowly recovering at his home, No. 16 East Twenty-second street, from the effects of an operation performed last Wednesday on his left eye by Dr. Henry D. Noyes, of the Manhattan Eye and Ear Hospital....
... Of his fifty-six years Mr. Cornwallis has given the larger part of nearly forty to newspaper and literary work. He was born in Clifton, England, and spent much of his early life in London, where his first book, a small volume of poems, was published when its author was only seventeen years old.

He was afterward an editorial writer in London and later entered the English colonial civil service. At one time he held a position to which Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton appointed him in Melbourne. 
Mr. Cornwallis travelled extensively and published the fruits of his observations in his books. Among these were “Two Journeys to Japan,” “A Panorama of the New World,” “The New El Dorado; or, British Columbia,” “My Life and Adventures” and “Poems of Travel.” 
Mr. Cornwallis was connected with the HERALD many years ago. He conducted the Knickerbocker Magazine, which he had bought in 1862, until he sold it during the war to Charles O’Connor and Professor S. F. B.Morse. Their political principles made the magazine unpopular and finally callused its discontinuance. 
Mr. Cornwallis then bought the Albion, a weekly literary publication, in 1870, and continued to be its editor until 1885. The Daily Investigator was founded the following year. 
Mr. Cornwallis’ contributions to the literature of the Columbian year are “The Song of America and Columbus,” a poem, and “The Conquest of Mexico and Peru.” 
“That which I most regret,” Mr. Cornwallis said to me cheerfully, as he lay in a darkened room, “is to be away from my office. I have not missed a business day since it was founded until this trouble came.”
From the 1914 Who's Who in New York City and State:
CORNWALLIS, KINAHAN Lawyer, editor; b. London, England, Dec. 24, 1839; s. William Baxter Kinahan Cornwallis, barrister-at-law; ed. Collegiate Inst'n. Liverpool, England, and Trinity Coll.; m. 1st, N. Y. City, Annie Louise, d., Samuel T. Tisdale; 2d. Hartford, Conn., Elizabeth D. Charles Chapman (both deceased); three children. Entered British Colonial civil service; two years in Melbourne, Australia; came to N. Y. City, 1860; served on editorial staff and as financial editor of N. Y. Herald until 1869; accompanied Prince of Wales, while in America as Herald correspondent; purchased and edited Knickerbocker Magazine and Albion newspaper; in 1886 established Wall Street Daily Investigator, now Wall Street Daily Investor, of which is still prop'r and editor; admitted to N. Y. Bar 1863, and has since practised in N. Y. City, Author: Howard Plunkett; An Australian Poem; Pilgrims of Fashion; British Columbia: Two Journeys to Japan; A Panorama of the New World: Wreck and Ruin, or Modern Society; My Life and Adventures, an Autobiography; The Crossticks, a Medley Performance; Royalty in the New World, or the Prince of Wales in America; The New Eldorado, or British Columbia; Adrift with a Vengeance; Two Strange Adventurers; A Marvelous Coincidence; American Historical Poems; The Song of America and Columbus; The Conquest of Mexico and Peru; The War for the Union, or the Duel Between North and South; The Gold Room and the New York Stock Exchange and Clearing House; International Law, a treatise; The History of Constructive Contempt of Court; also extensive contb’r to legal and literary periodicals in U. S. and England. Mem. N. Y. County Lawyers Ass'n, Am. Social Science Ass'n, St. George's Soc. of N. Y.; asso. mem. Nat. Inst. Arts and Letters. Republican; active in politics; mem. Madison Sq. Republican Club. Residence: 39 E. 22d St. Address: 95 Nassau St., N. Y. City.
NY Commercial Advertiser, Tuesday, May 9, 1876:
Kinahan Cornwallis named with Henry Randall Waite, Samuel C. Anderson, General Franz Sigel, and George Cary Eggleston as founders of "The National Reform League," described as "a political campaign organization." Address by the Executive Committee to the American people issued May 3, 1876.
Address by Executive Committee of the National Reform League in the New York Times, May 9, 1876.
Cornwallis and other founders of this new National Reform League were described as "gentlemen prominent in law and literature, but not much known in politics." --A New Political Organization, Michigan Argus, May 19, 1876.

Kinahan Cornwallis.

Kinahan Cornwallis, a prominent lawyer of this city for many years, with offices at 95 Nassau Street, died on Wednesday in St. Luke’s Hospital in his eighty-third year. Mr. Cornwallis, who was born in London, came to this country at an early age and at one time was financial editor of the New York Herald, later taking up the practice of law. On the occasion of the visit of the Prince of Wales, afterward King Edward VII., Mr. Cornwallis was appointed by the State Department as a representative of the Government to accompany the Prince on his tour of the country. Mr. Cornwallis was the oldest member of the St. George’s Society. He left a son, Major Kinahan Cornwallis, now serving with the British army in Egypt, and a daughter, Miss Frances Cornwallis, now abroad. --Obit in the New York Times, Friday, August 17, 1917 

Appendix 3

For further study, here are links to both volumes of Two Journeys to Japan. The "After Journey" section copied from Melville's Typee appears in volume 2, pp 209-300.

One more thing...for Melville scholars compiling contemporary references to Melville in the spirit of Jay Leyda, extending and improving his monumental Melville Log, the plagiarized "After Journey" offers yet another item for the archive of Melville references contemporary with his life. File under 1859.

Related post at melvilliana: 1859 book by Kinahan Cornwallis "freely pillaged from Typee"

Sunday, June 14, 2015

"Hawthorne: A Problem" and Kingsley's Yeast: A Problem

CharlesKingsley
Charles Kingsley via Wikimedia Commons
Along with the earlier post on fluid consciousness, this one also was prompted by John Bryant's stimulating remarks in his Foreword to Steven Olsen-Smith's Melville in His Own Time, the new collection of nineteenth-century takes on Herman Melville.

Bryant draws attention to one of those those eternally brilliant letters to Hawthorne we are lucky somebody transcribed before it got lost. Hey, would that be....? Yes! it's the No! in thunder letter all right. Editorially dated 16 April? 1851, it's also the letter where Melville invents a curious and suggestive book title, "Hawthorne: A Problem." Early in the letter, Melville starts reviewing The House of the Seven Gables for his friend the author's private entertainment. The details of Melville's comments prove how carefully and appreciatively he read the novel Hawthorne had given him. And Melville's pretend criticism of his friend's new book for the so-called "Pittsfield Secret Review" locates another volume, even more rare and mysterious, about the author of Gables:
...in one corner, there is a dark little black-letter volume in golden clasps, entitled "Hawthorne: A Problem." It has delighted us; it has piqued a re-perusal; it has robbed us of a day, and made us a present of a whole year of thoughtfulness; it has bred great exhilaration and exultation with the remembrance that the architect of the Gables resides only six miles off, and not three thousand miles away, in England, say.  --Herman Melville, letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne, 16 April? 1851
Whatever it means, or suggests, Melville's title "Hawthorne: A Problem" imitates the title of a book by English clergyman, writer and social reformer Charles Kingsley. Imitates deliberately or coincidentally? Let's say deliberately. That might explain Melville's reference to a hypothetical author living "three thousand miles away, in England, say," When Melville named his make-believe book "Hawthorne: A Problem," Kingsley had recently published his real book edition of Yeast: A Problem (originally serialized in Fraser's Magazine).
Yeast, published in Fraser’s Magazine in 1848 and in book form in 1851, is more of a tract than a novel, in which Kingsley described rural England in the time of Chartist agitation. The plot describes the fate of Lancelot Smith, a wealthy young man, who changes his religious and social views under the influence of Tregarva, a philosophical game-keeper, who acquaints Smith with the social, economic and moral conditions of the rural poor. --The Victorian Web
For the most part American journals only began to notice Kingsley's "new" book in June and July 1851. The New York Literary World did not review Yeast: A Problem until June 28, 1851. However, one place Melville could have seen Hawthorne's name suggestively juxtaposed with Kingsley's Yeast: A Problem was in the May 1851 issue of the International Magazine, edited by Rufus W. Griswold:

The International Monthly Magazine 3 (May 1851): 160

The review of Kingsley's Yeast: a Problem immediately follows Griswold's long review-essay on Hawthorne. Merely to show availability of the May 1851 issue in April, here is a notice printed in the Hudson, New York Daily Star on Saturday, April 26, 1851:
The International Magazine for May, is a splendid No. containing among other biographical engravings, an excellent portrait of Geo. W. Kendall, editor-in-chief of the New Orleans “Pic.” Its typographical execution is superb, and from a hasty glance at its contents it appears superior, in a literary point of view, to any other work of the kind. It is for sale by C. B. Nash, at his News Room; price 25 cents only.
On Friday, April 25, 1851 the Albany Evening Journal announced that the International Magazine was available and "crammed with interesting matter":

Albany Evening Journal (April 25, 1851)
The 16 April? 1851 date for this particular letter from Melville to Hawthorne is tentative, as indicated by the editorial question mark and headnote in the Northwestern-Newberry edition of Melville's Correspondence. Melville dated it "Wednesday" so we only need a Wednesday before May 7, 1851 when Sophia Hawthorne paraphrased it for her sister Elizabeth Palmer Peabody. (In Herman Melville: Cycle and Epicycle, at page 106, Eleanor Melville Metcalf gave the date as October 2, 1851. NYPL lists letters with both dates in the Sophia Peabody Hawthorne collection of letters, Berg Coll MSS Hawthorne, S. m.b., although the accompanying digital images do not correspond to either date--for now.) The online calendar for April-May 1851 shows that other possible Wednesdays are the 23rd and 30th. April 30th would allow Melville time to have spotted the graphic and suggestive association of Hawthorne with Yeast: A Problem in the May 1851 International Monthly Magazine.

Probably we ought to read Kingsley's Yeast--for it's own sake of course, but (can't help it, sorry) also with an eye open for any sign that Melville knew more than the title. Who knows, we might get hooked and want to read Kingsley's earlier book on St. Elizabeth of Hungary, then Alton Locke and Westward Ho!

The Hathi Trust Digital Library lists three different copies of Charles Kingsley's Yeast: A Problem. Here's one, digitized from the volume at Harvard

Friday, June 12, 2015

Sophia Hawthorne and Melville's Emersonian "fluid consciousness"


Update on "mush of concession." Sophia Hawthorne's other reported use of quotation marks when describing Melville to her sister in May 1851 is for the phrase, "mush of concession." Here again, as with the quoted expression, "fluid consciousness," Sophia Hawthorne's quotation marks signal a reference to the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson--this time from Emerson's essay on Friendship:
I hate, where I looked for a manly furtherance, or at least a manly resistance, to find a mush of concession. Better be a nettle in the side of your friend than his echo. The condition which high friendship demands is ability to do without it. 
She was saying that her husband's friend Melville could disagree in conversation, "for there is never a 'mush of concession' in him" (quoted in the NN edition of Melville's Correspondence).

Still later, 6/14/2015: So in Sophia Hawthorne's view, Melville does have what Emerson admired as "fluid consciousness"; does not have what Emerson reviled as "mush of concession." Her vocabulary reflects long saturation in Emerson, "deep in Emerson's thrall" already when Hawthorne and then Sophia Peabody met, as Larry J. Reynolds characterizes the state of her admiration back then (Hawthorne and Emerson in "The Old Manse.") Writing in the generation before Reynolds's, Henry G. Fairbanks didn't mind saying
 "In the presence of Ralph Waldo Emerson she [Sophia Peabody] behaved like a transcendental bobby-soxer." --Hawthorne and the Vanishing Venus
Considering how well known is Emerson's large and complicated influence on both Hawthornes, and how many chapters and essays we have about Melville and Emerson, it feels strange not to find more in Melville criticism about Sophia's describing Melville in specifically Emersonian terms. Looking for one discussion or even a glancing mention, I did find James McIntosh (quoted below) all over it. Whew! In Melville and Emerson's Rainbow Merton Sealts gives a page or so to Sophia's admiration for Emerson, without reference to Sophia's May 7, 1851 letter to her sister Elizabeth Peabody. (Eleanor Melville Metcalf in Herman Melville: Cycle and Epicycle, p106, gives the date of Sophia Hawthorne's letter as October 2, 1851. It's at NYPL in the Berg Collection.) Sealts I guess would have assumed Emerson's influence pretty much everywhere. And other scholars versed in Emerson, perhaps. Too obvious to mention with respect to "fluid consciousness" and "mush of concession"?
---

Of course I ordered Melville in His Own Time, the new collection of nineteenth-century writing about Melville edited by Steven Olsen-Smith. You probably know Melville scholar Olsen-Smith already as architect of the world class Melville's Marginalia Online. While I'm waiting for rush delivery to the prairie, Google Books has the entertaining and aggravating preview function to fool with.

Nice to see this, John Bryant contributes a provocative Foreword which has me wondering about a couple of things before the book is out of the box. When I really should be packing for Tokyo. It's about the letter Melville wrote to Hawthorne in April 1851, praising the just published House of the Seven Gables, and Sophia Hawthorne's appreciative comments about that letter and the "fluid consciousness" of its author their neighbor Herman Melville. One day I'll get around to posting something about "Hawthorne: A Problem." Right now I can't help obsessing over the penultimate sentence in this forward not to say froward Foreword:
We do not know what exactly Sophia Hawthorne means by “fluid consciousness” or why she puts it in quotation marks.  --John Bryant, Foreword to Melville in His Own Time
Granting we could argue all night about exactly what Sophia means by the quoted expression, Professor Bryant has it half right. But those quotation marks signal and bracket a quotation which in theory should be discover-able. Especially nowadays in this our glorious globalized digitized 21st Century. OK wait, I get it: this must be one of those master-teacher's tricks to start the class thinking critically. Extra credit for the first kid to Google it!!!

In my book--well, blog--James McIntosh should get EXTRA-extra credit for figuring out long before Google that Sophia Hawthorne was characterizing Melville in identifiably Emersonian terms.
In the spring of 1851, perhaps at the height of Melville’s and Hawthorne’s friendship for each other, Sophia Hawthorne wrote of her intriguing neighbor, “Melville’s fresh, sincere, glowing mind…is in a state of 'fluid consciousness,’ & to Mr. Hawthorne speaks his innermost about GOD, the Devil, & Life if so be he can get at the Truth for he is a boy in opinion—having settled nothing yet.” …When she lights on the words “fluid consciousness,” she describes a characteristic of his mind that pervades not only his fiction but all his writings of the period. The phrase, I surmise, is adapted from Emerson, who wrote, “Nature is not fixed but fluid” as well as “there are no fixtures to man, if we appeal to consciousness”; and it is suggestive that she would draw on Emerson to describe Melville. Emerson too takes uncertainty amid the breakdown of traditional belief as the condition for his endeavor, and glories in the fluidity of mind available to self-emancipated young Americans. --James McIntosh, The Mariner's Multiple Quest in New Essays on Moby-Dick, ed. Richard H. Brodhead, 23-4.
The statements by Emerson that McIntosh cites are from Emerson's famous 1836 work Nature ("not fixed but fluid"), and the First Series essay on Circles ("no fixtures to man, if we appeal to consciousness"). McIntosh correctly identifies Emerson as Sophia Hawthorne's referent, without realizing that her phrase "fluid consciousness" is in fact directly quoted (rather than "adapted") from a different essay by Emerson on Spiritual Laws:
The simplicity of the universe is very different from the simplicity of a machine. He who sees moral nature out and out, and thoroughly knows how knowledge is acquired and character formed, is a pedant. The simplicity of nature is not that which may easily be read, but is inexhaustible. The last analysis can no wise be made. We judge of a man's wisdom by his hope, knowing that the perception of the inexhaustibleness of nature is an immortal youth. The wild fertility of nature is felt in comparing our rigid names and reputations with our fluid consciousness. We pass in the world for sects and schools, for erudition and piety, and we are all the time jejune babes.  --Spiritual Laws 
Wild fertility! Emerson's idea of "fluid consciousness" is unstoppable biological life, opposed to formal, artificial social conventions. Don't worry I won't pretend to know really what he's talking about, but somehow Emerson associates this inner fluidity of thought and being with "wild fertility" and "the perception of inexhaustibleness in nature" which is to say "immortal youth." That's probably why Sophia Hawthorne called Melville "a boy in opinion." She seems also to have been recasting Emerson's ideas and language when praising the then-unknown author of Hawthorne and His Mosses to Evert Duyckinck, saying of Melville: "The freshness of primeval nature is in that man."

So Melville's mind is fresh and fluid with natural sap, what keeps things (trees, plants, thoughts, writings) green and growing. Yes, I'm thinking we'd better call in a biologist. Or a philosopher, at least. In his great green essay on Beauty in Nature, Michael Popejoy thus paraphrases Emerson:
In nature we observe growth and development in living things, contrasted with the static or deteriorating state of the vast majority of that which is man-made. --Michael Popejoy
You can see Ralph Waldo Emerson's phrase "fluid consciousness" in his "Spiritual Laws" essay at Melville's Marginalia Online, on page 123 in Melville's edition of Emerson's Essays, First Series,

Image Credit: Brain Abundance

Friday, June 5, 2015

1859 book by Kinahan Cornwallis "freely pillaged from Typee" and Tomes's The Americans in Japan

From the article headed LITERARY THEFTS in the Boston Evening Transcript, Wednesday, March 16, 1859:
The Century reports that a book has appeared in London entitled “Two Journeys to Japan, 1856-7, by Kinahan Cornwallis,” which is so freely pillaged from Herman Melville’s “Typee” and Dr. Tomes’s abridgement of Perry’s Japan Expedition, that doubts may very fairly be entertained of the writer’s having travelled to the scenes he pretends to describe, or, in fact, of there being any such author at all. The Spectator exposes the passages from Melville, in parallel columns, and is inclined to treat the writer with incredulity; the Athenaeum, on the contrary, is very respectful. It looks like a sheer publisher’s job, got up “to order.”  --Found in the online Newspaper Archives at Genealogy Bank 
Truth be told, it's hard to find something that is not plagiarized in Two Journeys to Japan. One source as revealed in the Boston item (paraphrasing an earlier review) is The Americans in Japan. Cornwallis's Two Journeys to Japan also features extensive copying from Typee which occurs in the concluding section of Volume 2, "The After Journey" (pp. 208-300). The Hathi Trust Digital Library has several sets of Two Journeys to Japan, 1856-7. This copy of Volume 2 is digitized from a volume in the library of the University of Michigan:



What Cornwallis made of Typee is the subject of my paper for the Melville conference in Tokyo, 25-29 June 2015. Titled "Copying Melville: Literary Theft and Romantic Anti-imperialism in Kinahan Cornwallis' Two Journeys to Japan, 1856-7," my paper relies on the scholarship of Joseph Koshimi Yamagiwa in
Cornwallis' Account of Japan: A Forgery and its Exposure, Monumenta Nipponica 4.1 (January 1941): 124-132.
Professor Yamagiwa is remembered at the University of Michigan with great affection and respect, as indicated in the appreciative memorial at the Faculty History Project.