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A Passion for Getting It Right

Essays and Appreciations in Honor of Michael J. Colacurcio’s 50 Years of Teaching

Edited By Carol M. Bensick

For 50 years Michael J. Colacurcio has been a leader in the criticism of early and antebellum American literature. In The Province of Piety, New Essays on The Scarlet Letter, Doctrine and Difference, and Godly Letters, as well as editions and often-reprinted reviews and essays, Dr. Colacurcio has continued to defend a rare vision of the political and intellectual depth of America’s serious fiction and the aesthetic power and charm of its religious poetry and prose. In light of many honors such as the Book of the Year Award from the Conference of Christianity and Literature and election in 2007 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, UCLA raised him to the rank of Distinguished Professor. Yet for all his dedication to research, his students know him as an unforgettable teacher, who has continued to win several teaching awards at both Cornell and UCLA. The present volume aspires to celebrate Dr. Colacurcio’s 50 years of transformative teaching through an exciting bounty of original and classic essays by some of his most talented students and eminent colleagues from his very first years at Cornell up to and including his current students at UCLA.
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Melville’s Bachelors: Templars No More



Like “Temple Second” and “Rich Man’s Crumbs,” “The Paradise of Bachelors” (Harper’s, April 1855), which describes the memorable dining experience of an unnamed narrator among nine bachelors at Elm Court, Temple, in London, is clearly based on Melville’s trip to England and the Continent in 1849–50. On December 19, 1849, the author dined with Robert Francis Cooke in London, afterward describing the event in his journal: “Last night dined in Elm Court, Temple, and had a glorious time till noon of night. A set of fine fellows indeed. It recalled poor Lamb’s ‘Old Benchers.’ Cunningham the author of Murray’s London Guide was there & was very friendly. A comical Mr. Rainbow also, & a grandson of Woodfall the printer of Junius, and a brother in law of Leslie the painter … Up in the 5th story we dined. The Paradise of Batchelors.”1 On December 20, Melville dined again, this time with nine individuals at London’s Erechtheum Club. The company, Melville wrote, was “exceedingly agreeable”; also agreeable was the mull of snuff he enjoyed after dinner. And two nights later he dined once more at the Erechtheum; the eight guests included “Ford the Spanish Traveller” and “Cunningham the London Antiquarian.” “We had a glorious time,” he observed, “& parted about midnight.”2 In creating “The Paradise of Bachelors,” Melville seems to have combined all three dinners into a single affair, setting his dinner at Elm Court, inviting nine bachelor guests (including both the...

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