The premise of this essay is that as scholars envision the future of Melville studies, we must also reckon with its past. We focus particular attention on what might be called the first Melville Revival, beginning in 1892 when Elizabeth Melville returned four of Herman's novels to print. We argue that a considerable amount of the labor that Elizabeth expended sits plainly in archival records, where nonetheless Melville scholars rarely find her. As ours is not, however, the first reconsideration of Elizabeth's contributions to her husband's career, the second half of this essay attempts to understand the ways that Melville scholarship has perennially re-discovered Elizabeth over the past fifty years and then, unable to assimilate the discovery, re-forgotten her. Toward this essay's conclusion, we show that to break this cycle, the future of Melville studies may require a rethinking of what scholars designate by the organizing concept-metaphor "Melville," a rethinking that might expand our scholarly object beyond the man himself to encompass scenes of collaboration in the family and agencies irreducible to the author's own.


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pp. 97-119
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