Herman Melville, (August 1, 1819 – September 28, 1891) a native New Yorker, swapped homes with his brother to move into the Pittsfield farmhouse where he wrote Moby-Dick, after meeting Nathaniel Hawthorne on Monument Mountain.
One scholar* suggests that meeting inspired Melville to rewrite a “relatively straightforward” whaling adventure into “an epic of cosmic encyclopedic proportions.” Even though sales of Moby-Dick averaged a mere 100 per year during the forty years before his death, there’s little chance it ever will go out of print. And, as Hawthorne coined the name Tanglewood, Melville rechristened Hearthstone Hill October Mountain!
Melville’s celebrated porch
Here he muses at the opening of Piazza Tales, his delightful collection of stories and tales:
“Now, for a house, so situated in such a country, to have no piazza for the convenience of those who might desire to feast upon the view, and take their time and ease about it, seemed as much of an omission as if a picture-gallery should have no bench; for what but picture-galleries are the marble halls of these same limestone hills?—galleries hung, month after month anew, with pictures ever fading into pictures ever fresh.”