Ik Marvel is forgotten today, although in his own day he was an inspiration to such literary luminaries as Washington Irving and Emily Dickinson.  What other fate could befall a modest essayist who began his popular Reveries of a Bachelor (1850) with this sentence: “This book is neither more nor less than it pretends to be: it is a collection of those floating Reveries which have, from time to time, drifted across my brain.”  Yet the floating Reveries of Marvel (Donald Grant Mitchell) have a marvelous power to settle in the imagination, take root, and send forth shoots and flowers.  Consider his quietly rapturous description of the great early nineteenth-century ideal of domestic bliss. Continue reading