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Consisting largely of letters by, to, and about Melville, linked with valuable commentary by Melville’s granddaughter, the author, this book includes an unknown letter of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne’s, letters written by Melville’s wife on their wedding trip, Evert Duyckinck’s racy descriptions of Berkshire social life, Melville’s self-revealing letters to Hawthorne, numerous diary entries, and the sometimes playful, sometimes querulous correspondence of a close-knit family. These documents—along with family anecdotes recalled by the author—suggest a great deal about Melville and the intimate scene in which he lived and moved and failed to find his being.