Chapter

“Wandering To-and-Fro”

Emory Elliott

in A Historical Guide to Herman Melville

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780195142822
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850297 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195142822.003.0007

Series: Historical Guides to American Authors

“Wandering To-and-Fro”

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As Lawrence Thomson presents in his work entitled Melville's Quarrel with God, philosophical and religious ideas played no small part in Melville's writings as he expressed questions about God, good and evil, death, the afterlife, and other related topics in his literary works. Although Melville's works gave much emphasis to such issues, ideas regarding his personal faith, his belief in the existence of “God,” and other questions about his religious faith were unclear. Nathaniel Hawthorne, Melville's friend and fellow writer, attested that although Melville never stopped seeking answers to his questions, he had always believed that everything could reasonably be explained. Although Melville's interest in metaphysical issues persisted, this never undermined the fact that religion is still essential in determining certain principles, moral teachings, and fundamental value systems across several cultures.

Keywords: Lawrence Thomson; Melville's Quarrel with God; philosophical ideas; Nathaniel Hawthorne; faith; belief; God; moral teachings; value systems; principles

Chapter.  13483 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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