Turns out Van Doren wasn't very far seeing. Have you ever read anything as stupid as this?
"Although he did not cease to write at once, Moby Dick seems to have exhausted him. Pierre (1852) is hopelessly frantic; Israel Potter (1855) is not markedly original; neither are The Piazza Tales (1856), and The Confidence Man (1857)." Take or leave the other opinions, but anyone calling The Piazza Tales unoriginal is a bloody fool. It included "Bartleby" -- one of the greatest short stories ever written by an American -- and "Benito Cereno," a superb short novel. Unoriginal -- puh-leeze.