There’s also a great entry in one of Hawthorne’s journals about when Hawthorne became the ambassador to England. He invited Melville to come visit him and they walked on the moors. Apparently Hawthorne wrote something like: “Out rambling on the moors all morning with Melville this morning. God again.” That’s an eloquent two word summary of a conversation.
If you're not familiar with St. John's College Summer Classics program, visit their site to find out more. This year's brochure also lays out the seminars available in July 2020 at their Santa Fe campus. The seminars are pricey for me, but one can dream, right? If you could take one seminar this summer, which would you choose? There are so many that appeal to me, not to mention the chance to go to the Santa Fe Opera.
The post's opening quote comes from Tutors Talk Books: Cary Stickney On Moby Dick and More. Cary Stickney will be one of the tutors this summer covering Melville's book. I've never heard Moby Dick called a good beach read, but the more I think about it the more I agree with it.
For more on Nathaniel Hawthorne and Melville, check out Melville Meets Hawthorne at American Heritage magazine. I have been unable to find the quote Stickney references, but this article includes this quote from Hawthorne's journal, which sounds similar (if not longer worded):
Melville, as he always does, began to reason of Providence and futurity, and of everything that lies beyond human ken.… It is strange how he persists—and has persisted ever since I knew him, and probably long before—in wandering to-and-fro over these deserts, as dismal and monotonous as the sand hills amid which we were sitting. He can neither believe, nor be comfortable in his unbelief; and he is too honest and courageous not to try to do one or the other. If he were a religious man, he would be one of the most truly religious and reverential; he has a very high and noble nature, and better worth immortality than most of us.