Vol. 9 (2020)
Osservatorio

“Silence is the Only Voice”: Le Lettere a Hawthorne di Herman Melville e la scoperta di una nuova voce femminile

Paolo Simonetti
Sapienza Università di Roma
Published December 31, 2020

Abstract

The letters Herman Melville wrote to Nathaniel Hawthorne between January 1851 and December 1852 help us reconstruct the beginning of a new stage in his writing: after the semi-autobiographical sea-novels of adventures, Melville’s imagination switched to a different narrative structure, closer to the sentimental domestic settings of Hawthorne’s romances and more attentive to female characters. The influence Hawthorne and his wife Sophia Peabody had on Melville’s imagination during the period they corresponded, as well as the failed collaboration between the two writers on the “Agatha Letters”, brought Melville to the discovery of a new feminine voice and an original female character – the resilient woman – that will appear more frequently in the following part of his literary production.

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