Four iconic American literary figures interact in an imaginative mid-19th century journey between Boston and New York. Allen O’Reilly is by turns sober, impassioned, tender and thoughtful in his performance of award-winning documentary filmmaker and first-time novelist John Healey’s alternative literary history that features the writing, philosophies, and lovemaking of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Herman Melville. At heart a love story, the work also provides engaging conversational interplay among great artists on subjects as diverse as fear, religion, publishing, slavery, love, sexual orientation, and the nature of institutional power in society.
A delightful romantic account of Emily Dickinson’s and Herman Melville’s relationship. The manuscript of this novel was discovered by John J. Healey in a box left by his grandfather, Professor Vincent P. Healey, after his death. This engaging work of fiction is a romantic account in which four iconic figures of American Letters play a leading role.
In the summer of 1851 Herman Melville was finishing Moby Dick on his family farm in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts. Surrounded by his mother, sisters and pregnant wife, it was a calm and productive season until his neighbor Nathaniel Hawthorne lured him to Amherst. There they met twenty-year-old Emily Dickinson and her brother Austin. On a whim the two distinguished authors invited the Dickinson siblings to accompany them on a trip to Boston and New York. In Manhattan they met journalist Walt Whitman and William Johnson, a runaway slave, and it was there, despite their efforts to control it, that Emily and Herman fell in love.
This, for the first time, is their story.