"Presented here is one sequence are the 313 texts, newly edited by Lynn Horth, that are known to survive of letters by Melville, and for the first time, in a separate sequence, the 88 texts that are known to survive of letters to him. Taken together, however, these surviving texts provide only a spotty chronicle of Melville's outer, and intermittent revelations of his inner, life. They provide so little not only because by all indications he wrote relatively few, and mostly sparse, letters but also because so many of those he did write, and receive, have been lost or destroyed. He himself, as he declared, habitually destroyed letters he received, including those he had prized from Hawthorne; and his daughter or some other too-proper descendant in the twentieth century lamentably destroyed his numerous letters to his wife." "Consequently, to fill the gaps within the correspondence, 542 editorial entries are chronologically interspersed for letters both by and to Melville for which no full text has been located but for which some evidence survives. These entries, like the editorial headnotes for the known letters, flesh out the specific historical and biographical contexts for the unlocated letters. Both supply Horth's full annotations, placing circumstances, persons, and allusions, from a wide range of documentary and scholarly sources, and drawing upon family archives of both Melville and his wife, including the recently recovered portion, now in the New York Public Library, of a trove preserved by his sister Augusta.".
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Abraham added addressed Albany Allan American appeared Association August Boston brother called canceled Catherine cited cm sheet Collection copy cousin Davis-Gilman Dear Dear Sir December Duyckinck edition Elizabeth embossed enclosing entry Evert February folded in half Gansevoort George give hand Harper Hawthorne headnote Henry Herman Melville hope included inserted invitation James January John Journals July June known Lansing later lecture letter Library lines Literary Location London manuscript March Maria Melville inscribed Melville's Melville's letter Murray November NYPL-GL October original pencil Peter Pittsfield placed possibly present presumably printed probably Publication published Putnam received reference reply reported request Richard sent September Shaw sister Society stamp Textual Notes thing Typee University Unlocated volume wife wove paper write written wrote York