|Melville: portrait by Seth Moreau|
"Melville died at home, of a heart attack, shortly after midnight on September 28, 1891. He was seventy-two years old; his last novel, The Confidence-Man, had been published more than three decades earlier. As the following notices suggest, he had been almost totally forgotten by all but a small group of admirers in Great Britain and the United States. In an article written about a year before his death (included below), columnist Edward W. Bok went so far as to state that most of those who could remember Melville in 1890 thought he had died long before."
From the New York Times - October 2, 1891
"There has died and been buried in this city, during the current week, at an advanced age, a man who is so little known, even by name, to the generation now in the vigor of life that only one newspaper contained an obituary account of him, and this was but of three or four lines."
From the Springfield, Mass. Republican, October 4th, 1891
"He had long been forgotten and was no doubt unknown to the most of those who are reading the magazine literature and the novels of the day."
From the New York Mail and Express, October 8th, 1891
"Mr. Melville was a man of great genius, but he cannot be said to have understood the limitation of his genius, or the things which it could, or could not, accomplish, and he cannot be said to have understood, or to have cultivated, literature as an art. "