Robert C. Ryan, Harrison Hayford, Alma A. MacDougall, and G. Thomas Tanselle (eds), The Writings of Herman Melville: The Northwestern-Newberry Edition, Vol. 11: Published Poems: Battle-Pieces; John Marr; Timoleon
pg 189Editor’s NoteJohn Marr and Other Sailorswith Some Sea-Pieces pg 190
NN copy-text is Melville's manuscript [HM], "John Marr and Other Sailors," in Harvard MS Am 188 (370). The first and only printing in Melville's lifetime, set from this manuscript, was John Marr and Other Sailors [JM] (New York: De Vinne Press, 1888). In total, HM is emended at 261 points: at 25 points from Elizabeth Shaw Melville's inscription in HM [HM\EM]; at 49 points from printed variants in JM galley [JMg] and page [JMp] proof; at 1 point from the De Vinne reviewer's alteration of the galley proof [JMg\r]; at 169 points from Melville's revisions in JM galley and page proof [JMg\HM, JMp\HM]; at 9 points from Melville's revision of JM [JM\HM]; at 1 point from Elizabeth Shaw Melville's revision in JM [JM\EM]; at 7 points by the present edition [NN]. Substantives are emended at 102 points, accidentals at 159 points.
The Historical Note provides background relating to Melville's poetic development. The Note on Printing and Publishing History, pp. 543–64 above, describes the printer's-copy manuscript, the galley and page proofs, and the finished book; and it recounts, on the basis of these documents, the course of Melville's text through the printing process. The General Note on the Text supplies information on the copies used for collation and on the printer's copy for NN (pp. 580–82); comments on the sources for assessing the text, including the manuscript, the galley and page proofs, and copies of the finished book (pp. 588–89); outlines Melville's methods of preparing and revising manuscripts (pp. 596–99); sets forth the principles for emendation of the copy-text (pp. 602–17); and explains the makeup of the textual apparatus, including the system employed for recording manuscript revisions (pp. 617–20).
NN uses three section-titles ("John Marr and Other Sailors" on p. 195, "Sea-Pieces" on p. 218, and "Pebbles" on p. 243) in conformity with Melville's alterations of running-titles on the page proofs—which reflect the arrangement implied by his holograph title page ("John Marr and Other Sailors with Some Sea-Pieces") taken together with the printed table of contents (where "Sea-Pieces" and "Pebbles" are centered section headings). The alternative plans for marking sections that emerged at the galley- and page-proof stages are discussed above (pp. 556, 560–61). NN page-breaks that coincide with stanza-breaks, as well as NN line-end hyphens that should be retained in quoting, are listed on pp. 616–17.
Discussions. x.6 JOHN MARR AND OTHER SAILORS] NN places this section-title in the table of contents to correspond with Melville's designation of it as one of three section-titles in his alterations of running-titles on the page proofs. It does not appear in the table of contents of the first edition, though the other two section-titles ("Sea-Pieces" and "Pebbles") do. No manuscript or proof for the table of contents is known to survive, and the poem titles in the NN table of contents are those that appear at the heads of the poems in NN, which reflect Melville's intention as it emerges from the surviving documents. In fact, the only substantive differences between the poem titles in the NN table of contents and those of the first edition are the presence in NN of the full titles of "Inscription Epistolary to W. C. R.," "The Æolian Harp At the Surf Inn," and "Old Counsel Of the young Master Of a wrecked California clipper" (shortened in the first edition to "Inscription Epistolary," "The Æolian Harp," and "Old Counsel").