Melville’s Use of “The Rebellion Record” in his Poetry, by Frank Day

April 15, 2002

scanned_Melville's use of the rebellion record in his poetryMelville drew on the Rebellion Record for twenty of the seventy-two poems in Battle-Pieces and for two others included in his later volume of poems. His indebtedness to the Record, moreover, is greater in one sense than is suggested by the total of twenty poems out of seventy-two, for most of the fifty-two poems not indebted to the Record are largely philosophical, eulogistic, or inscriptive. Of the lines actually describing war events and giving details of battles, an estimated eighty percent have probable sources in the Record. This book explores the implications of the Record for Melville’s poetry.

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