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Additional resources for A companion to Herman Melville
Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1974. 101. Secondary Sources Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The English Notebooks by Nathaniel Hawthorne, ed. Randall Stewart. New York: Russell and Russell, 1941, 1962. Newman, Lea Bertani Vozar. ’’ Melville Society Extracts 92 (March, 1993): 4. Robertson-Lorant, Laurie. Melville: A Biography. New York: Clarkson Potter, 1996; Boston and Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1998. A Companion to Herman Melville Edited by Wyn Kelley Copyright © 2006 by Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2 Cosmopolitanism and Traveling Culture Peter Gibian Cosmopolitanism and American Literature When people first hear the words ‘‘cosmopolitan’’ and ‘‘American Literature’’ in the same sentence, they tend to think of the early twentieth century.
Although in Typee and Omoo he dismissed the Hawaiians as lazy and ignorant, by 1859 he was supporting the right of Hawaiians to speak their native language in their schools and expressing his opposition to American annexation of the islands. By August, he was ready to go home, and his boss Isaac Montgomery, who became a friend, released him from his indenture. Wary of signing on another whaleship whose captain might recognize him as a deserter, on August 17, 1843 he signed on the USS United States, a naval frigate bound for Boston.
The story of this early twentieth-century cosmopolitan figure then raises large questions about (to borrow a phrase from Homi Bhabha) ‘‘the location of culture’’: the location of home and of home culture for American writers who characteristically see themselves, after this move into the realm of the international, as unable to go home again. Indeed, in defining themselves as moderns and cosmopolitans, these early twentieth-century writers saw themselves as making a clear revolutionary break from previous traditions of American writing that they had left behind – which were seen to be (for good or ill) always resolutely national rather than international, provincial rather than cosmopolitan.