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Melville Electronic Library - a critical archive

Versions of Battle-Pieces

John Brown

While MEL’s Editions Group works to build its Versions of Battle-Pieces edition, the History Group is annotating each of the seventy or so poems in Melville’s collection of Civil War poems.  Most of the poems are occasioned by specific battles or events related to battles, and our plan is to display the poems, their annotations, and associated images alongside a layered, digital timeline featuring Civil War, world history, and Melville life events.  Users can select a poem from a conventional table of contents, and the timeline will reposition to its corresponding time frames; or they can select a battle or event in the Civil War time frame to find its associated Melville poem.

A model for our Battle-Pieces timeline can be viewed by clicking the link below.

MEL’s images of Melville’s annotated copies A and C of Battle-Pieces—located in the Melville Collection at Houghton Library, with the call numbers AC85 M4977 866b (A) and AC85 M4977 866b (C)—are digitally reproduced and generously donated by the Modern Books and Manuscript Department of Houghton Library, Harvard College Library.  The text of Battle-Pieces was transcribed by Aptara, Inc. from digital images of the 1866 first edition, call number PS2384 .B3 1866, in the Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature, Herman Melville Collection, in Special Collections of University of Virginia Library.