The Melville Society is dedicated to the study and appreciation of the nineteenth-century American author Herman Melville, writer of Typee, Moby-Dick, and Billy Budd, such short stories as “Bartleby” and “Benito Cereno,” and several volumes of poetry, including Battle-Pieces and the epic Clarel.
We publish the award-winning journal Leviathan and meet twice a year for fellowship and scholarly discourse at the annual conferences of the Modern Language Association and the American Literature Association. We also sponsor International Conferences and tours every other year.
Membership and Donations
Membership in The Melville Society is open to all. For information about joining The Melville Society click here. If you want to make a special payment or if you are interested in donating to any of the various projects, endowments, and programs sponsored by The Melville Society, click here.
Events and Announcements
NEH Summer Institute for Teachers
The New Bedford Whaling Museum
Tim Marr has announced that the Melville Society Cultural Project's collaboration with the New Bedford Whaling Museum has been awarded funding for a NEH Summer Institute for School Teachers that will take place at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in Massachusetts from June 17-30, 2018.
More information about how teachers can participate will be available in October.
You can use the link below to download for distribution the full press release. Here are some excerpts:
The New Bedford Whaling Museum, in association with Melville Society Cultural Project, has been awarded a $136,342 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The grant will fund a two-week Summer Institute for Teachers in 2018, which will illuminate the art and context of Herman Melville’s famous 19th century American novel Moby-Dick, and help teachers from across the country interpret the book for 21st century students.
Six nationally recognized scholars make up the Melville Society Cultural Project, aimed at sharing an understanding of Herman Melville’s writings, life, and times. They will serve as principal faculty of the Institute: Jennifer Baker, New York University; Mary K. Bercaw Edwards, University of Connecticut; Wyn Kelley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Chris Sten, George Washington University; Robert K. Wallace, Northern Kentucky University; and Timothy Marr, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, serving as the Institute Director.
“The Melville Society Cultural Project is delighted to partner with the Whaling Museum to bring teachers from around the country to New Bedford, the historical center of American whaling,” said Tim Marr, Director of the Summer Institute for Teachers. “From there we will journey forth together on Melville’s Pequod in quest of Moby-Dick, a text that swims on and is crucially relevant for understanding our human dilemmas in the 21st century.”
The Institute will be hosted at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. New Bedford, Massachusetts is a meaningful location for intensive study of Herman Melville’s masterpiece in the context of the whaling industry. Melville arrived in New Bedford on Christmas day 1840 and shipped nine days later on the Acushnet from Fairhaven across the harbor. Since 2000, the Whaling Museum has partnered with the Melville Society Cultural Project to offer scholarly programming, and the Museum is home to the Melville Society Archive, which constitutes one of the best collections of Melville scholarship anywhere in the world.
Moby-Dick Marathons - August 2017
Reports of Moby-Dick marathons are coming on line. Two newspapers reported on the marathon held at Seaport Villiage in Mystic, CT. Anna Sullivan of the Westerly Sun in Pawcatuck, Connecticut reports:
Participants join in a marathon reading of the classic Moby-Dick aboard the Charles W. Morgan at the Mystic Seaport on Monday, July 31, 2017. Readers will read the novel, by Herman Melville, for a straight 24 hours, expecting to finish up by noon on August 1st, which is the 198th anniversary of the author's birth.
You can view the Westerly Sun photos here. And Dana Jensen of The Day in New London, CT writes of a featured photo:
Participants listen while a fellow participant takes a turn reading aloud a chapter of "Moby-Dick" onboard the whaleship Charles W. Morgan during the 32nd annual "Moby-Dick" Marathon at Mystic Seaport, Monday, July 31, 2017. The marathon began at noon Monday with participants coming and going, taking an average of 24 hours to complete the book by author Herman Melville. Twenty-four participants have registered to spend the night aboard the whaleship to continue reading aloud overnight and finish around noon on Tuesday.
Photos published of the Mystic Seaport, CT marathon can be viewed here. And of course a Moby-Dick marathon was conducted at Melvillle's one-time home, the house and farm he named Arrowhead, in Pittsfield, MA. Below are two photos taken by at Jana Laiz the Arrowhead Moby-Dick marathon.
Publication of the Final Volume of the
Fifteen-Volume Writings of Herman Melville Series
The final volume of the fifteen-volume Writings of Herman Melville series is scheduled for publication this September by the Northwestern University Press. The publication of this volume, "Billy Budd, Sailor" and Other Uncompleted Writings, completes the publishing project begun in the mid-1960s by the late Harrison Hayford. Scores of editors have been involved in the publication of the fifteen-volume series. This final volume (vol. 13) includes reading texts and new or corrected literal transcriptions of all the uncompleted prose and verse writings that Melville left in manuscript when he passed away on September 28, 1891. Work on this final volume has been ongoing for more than 35 years—celebrations are in order. Click here or the image below for more information.
Photo Gallery of the June 2017 London Conference on Flickr
Thanks to the photographers and participants in 11th International Conference in London last June
for sharing their memories and photos.
Click in the menu above to view the "Photos" page for a gallery of photos from the London 2017 conference.
Leviathan 19.2 Now Available
Available on Project Muse
Leviathan 19.2 is available on Project Muse. It includes essays on "The Town-Ho's Story" and labor tension, Romantic melancholy in Moby-Dick, the parasite in "Jimmy Rose," and isolatoes in John Marr and Other Sailors, along with three book reviews, All Astir, MLA Abstracts, presidential remarks from the Melville Society Dinner, and an appreciation of John Huston's film Moby Dick.
MLA 2018 Annual Convention, New York, NY
4 to 7 January 2018
Melville Society Panel
Political Philosophy in Melville
Organizer & Chair, Munia Bhaumik (Emory University)
1. Michael Jonik (University of Sussex)
"Diogenes in Disguise": Cynicism and Politics in The Confidence-Man"
2. Ana Schwartz (University of Pennsylvania)
3. Paulo M. Loonin (Washington University in St. Louis)
"Melville and Democratic Portraiture: Moby-Dick as American Laocoon"
4. Nathan Wolf (Tufts University)
"'Dead then I'll be': Melville, Hobbes, and the Death of Politics"
Respondent, Jennifer Greiman (Wake Forest University)
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Featuring Videos from Our International Conferences and a Poetry Reading by Gordon Poole