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Melville’s Hand: Studies in Manuscript and Interpretation special topic in this issue of Leviathan is Melville’s Hand, the purpose of which is to provide a forum for discussion about the creative process. A As the data about Melville’slife increases, interest in how Melville wrote what he wrote grows. And as the promise that electronic media shall broaden our access to primary materials grows ever steadily toward reality, scholars and critics are beginning to give more attention to the meanings located in Melville’spatterns of composition. As the three articles included here show,the range of topics in this field of study is broad, and the places they take us are intellectually fascinating. Jonathan Cooks compelling speculation that the printed word “myth”in a passage from The Confidence-Man is erroneous and should be emended to “mystery” is based on an understanding of the idiosyncrasies of Melville’s handwriting and the nature of textual transcription. Working with fragments of Melville’s rough draft, Cook also implements a set of analytical criteria that makes his speculation seem all the more of a likelihood. Moving from the working draft stage of composition to proof sheets, we find in James Duban’s stimulating study of two rhymed lines in Clarel (corrected in Melville’shand) not simply a heretofore unmentioned connection to Shakespeare but a discourse on faith and fable. Odd how mighty ideas can grow out of an author’s replacement of a hyphen for a dash. And John Wenke takes us further into interpretive realms with his analysis of Melville’s revisions of Billy Budd. Here, patterns of revision, or what we may call revision strategies, reveal the author’s conscious intent to turn an originally stalwart Vere into the morally ambiguous character many find him to be. Wenke is not arguing that Vere may be read this way; he is showing how Melville crafted Vere to be read this way. Thus, revision strategies reveal rhetorical strategies. We hope these “studies”-short, to the point, but penetrating and provocative-will encourage further analysis of textual or editorial matters in general but also of the revisions to be found in Melville’smanuscripts, proofs, and variant editions. The hand is cousin to the mind.-The Editor 7 2 L E V I A T H A N ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1750-1849
Print ISSN
1525-6995
Pages
p. 72
Launched on MUSE
2013-05-29
Open Access
No
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