Selections from Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War cover

Selections from Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War

Herman Melville (1819-1891)

1. 01 - The Portent (1859)
2. 02 - Misgivings
3. 03 - The Conflict of Convictions
4. 04 - Apathy and Enthusiasm
5. 05 - The March into Virginia
6. 06 - Lyon
7. 07 - Ball's Bluff
8. 08 - Dupont's Round Fight
9. 09 - The Stone Fleet
10. 10 - Donelson
11. 11 - The Cumberland
12. 12 - In the Turret
13. 13 - The Temeraire
14. 14 - The Utilitarian View of the Monitor's Fight
15. 15 - Shiloh
16. 16 - The Battle for the Mississippi
17. 17 - Malvern Hill
18. 18 - The Victor of Antietam
19. 19 - Battle of Stone River
20. 20 - Running the Batteries
21. 21 - Stonewall Jackson
22. 22 - Stonewall Jackson (ascribed to a Virginian)
23. 23 - Gettysburg
24. 24 - The House-top
25. 25 - Look-out Mountain
26. 26 - Chattanooga
27. 27 - The Armies of the Wilderness
28. 28 - On the Photograph of a Corps Commander
29. 29 - The Swamp Angel
30. 30 - The Battle for the Bay
31. 31 - Sheridan at Cedar Creek
32. 32 - In the Prison Pen
33. 33 - The College Colonel
34. 34 - The Eagle of the Blue
35. 35 - A Dirge for McPherson
36. 36 - At the Cannon's Mouth
37. 37 - The March to the Sea
38. 38 - The Frenzy in the Wake
39. 39 - The Fall of Richmond
40. 40 - The Surrender at Appomattox
41. 41 - A Canticle
42. 42 - The Martyr
43. 43 - 'The Coming Storm'
44. 44 - Rebel Color-bearers at Shiloh
45. 45 - The Muster
46. 46 - Aurora Borealis
47. 47 - The released Rebel Prisoner
48. 48 - A Grave near Petersburg, Virginia
49. 49 - 'Formerly a Slave'
50. 50 - The Apparition
51. 51 - Magnanimity Baffled
52. 52 - On the Slain Collegians
53. 53 - America
54. 54 - An Epitaph
55. 55 - The Mound by the Lake
56. 56 - Commemorative of a Naval Victory

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Summary

Published in 1866, Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War is a collection of poems about the Civil War by Herman Melville. Many of the poems are inspired by second- and third-hand accounts from print news sources (especially the Rebellion Record) and from family and friends. A handful of trips Melville took before, during, and after the war provide additional angles of vision into the battles, the personalities, and the moods of war. In an opening note, Melville describes his project not so much as a systematic chronicle (though many of the individual poems refer to specific events) but as a kind of memory piece of national experience. The “aspects” to which he refers in the title are as diverse as “the moods of involuntary meditation—moods variable, and at times widely at variance.” Much of the verse is stylistically conventional (more so than modern readers perhaps expect from the author of Moby-Dick), but the shifting subjectivities and unresolved traumas that unfold in the collection merit repeated contemplation. Melville’s Battle-Pieces do not offer a neatly versified narrative of the Civil War but rather kaleidescopic glimpses of shifting emotions and ambivalent reflections of post-war America.(Professor Meredith Neuman)