Five years later, when he was writing ‘Pierre’, he was insensible enough to his wife’s feelings to speak of the 'disenchanting glasses of the matrimonial days and nights.’ If he expected Lizzie to read his books, he must have been curiously indifferent to their effect on her, unless indeed he 'wished’ that effect. And the truth is that the masculine and feminine elements in Melville’s own nature were far too precariously balanced, far too unreconciled with one another, for marriage to be anything but excruciatingly problematic both for him and his wife. All the more so since he could not have had more than the dimmest, most flickering awareness of the reasons for his difficulty. He was conscious enough, no doubt, of the ardor and intensity of his feelings for members of his own sex, but the possibility that such emotions might have had a sexual undercurrent can only with the utmost rarity, and then fleetingly, have presented itself to his consciousness.
Herman Melville by Newton Arvin