Melville, oddly, signed his review as "a Virginian spending July in Vermont." More than any other reviewer in the four years since Hawthorne's collection was published, Melville noticed that the stories emphasized a negative side of human nature. Most others had noticed his focus on stories with a moral, noting the positive aspect of teaching a lesson to general readers. Melville noted:
You may be witched by his sunlight—transported by the bright gildings in the skies he builds over you; but there is the blackness of darkness beyond; and even his bright gildings but fringe and play upon the edges of thunder-clouds.
Melville believed "this black conceit pervades him through and through." Hawthorne's writing was "shrouded in blackness, ten times black." That dark view of humanity must have influenced Melville's own writing. The author most known for his book Typee and its sequel Omoo was then working on a far deeper novel, one which explored the dark recesses of human nature. When the book was published later that year, Moby-Dick included this dedication:
In token of my admiration for his genius, this book is inscribed to Nathaniel Hawthorne.