2022 Undergraduate Research Showcase


Visualizing the Human Experience in Melville's Marginalia: Nathaniel Hawthorne

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Steven Olsen-Smith and Dr. Elisa Barney Smith


In this upcoming undergraduate research showcase, we will investigate several predominant themes followed by Herman Melville in his reading of Nathaniel Hawthorne's work. The two were known to have a rich friendship that allowed them to come together in creative aspects, and they shared many similar ideals and beliefs which allows us to make connections based on their friendship, the volumes of Hawthorne’s writings Melville marked and annotated, and the specific passages that evoked Melville’s interest. For example, the passages marked by Melville work as a mirror for Melville’s understanding of the power that man has over the human experience. The passages have significant insight into the true meaning of human life, and how we, as a society, come to understand it. Through graphs, key word lists, and other visual aids our poster will display the unique words which occur most frequently in passages marked by Melville. In Melville’s marginalia to Hawthorne’s Mosses from an Old Manse, The House of the Seven Gables, The Marble Faun, and Twice-Told Tales, the most frequently occurring terms in marked text are: “life," "man," "world," and “human.” Within marked content, these terms frequently converge when the concept of humankind’s search for meaning is present, an integral theme in Melville’s writings. Through prose analysis our poster will provide insight into how these conceptual themes related to Melville’s own personal thoughts and how they manifested themselves in Melville's writings, specifically his magnum-opus Moby Dick.

This document is currently not available here.