The Eaton Portrait

Herman Melville JOEaton 95ppi 250wBy permission of Houghton Library, Harvard University: 61Z-4

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whale-trp200Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies appears three times a year in March, June, and October. We welcome articles, notes, reviews, and creative writing on the life, works, and influence of novelist and poet Herman Melville (1819-1891). Click here for more information.

Melville Electronic Library

mel-thumb-crpd-3The Melville Electronic Library is an online resource for Melville texts. Housed on a Hofstra University server, MEL is being developed and maintained by a group of Melville scholars and digital specialists.

Johns Hopkins University Press

jhup-logoTo join the Melvillle Society and subscribe to Leviathan, visit Leviathan's Johns Hopkins University Press journal site by clicking here.

Melville Society Cultural Project

Melville Society and New Bedford Whaling Museum Cultural Project The New Bedford Whaling Museum in collaboration with The Melville Society is the established home of the Melville Society Cultural Project and Melville Society Archive. The Melville Society Archive is housed at the New Bedford Whaling Museum's Research Library, where significant works from this collection are also on display. The Melville Society Cultural Project also sponsors a book donation program and presents exciting annual events including the Moby-Dick Marathon and a Birthday Lecture.

Melville and Whitman in Washington: 
The Civil War Years and After

History • Politics • Nation Memory

The Ninth International Melville Conference

Washington , DC • June 4-7, 2013

8:30 a.m., June 4, to 1 p.m., June 7

 Capitol under construction Abraham Lincoln's 1861 Inauguration
Library of Congress - Civil War photos - Item 96511712

Featured Plenary Speakers

Ken Price (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Ed Folsom (University of Iowa),
Elizabeth Renker (Ohio State University), and John Bryant (Hofstra University)


The Melville Society’s ninth international conference—to be held June 4-7, 2013, in Washington, DC—features the Civil War writings of two of the major poets of the nineteenth century: Walt Whitman and Herman Melville.  Sponsored by the Melville Society, the Washington Friends of Walt Whitman, the Mickle Street Review at Rutgers University-Camden, and the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences at George Washington University, the conference is timed to coincide with the Sesquicentennial of the war and a rich array of museum exhibits, artistic performances, and commemorative activities in and around the nation’s capital.  The conference will be held on the campus of George Washington University and the Arts Club of Washington, just blocks from the White House, Corcoran Gallery, National Portrait Gallery/Museum of American Art, Ford’s Theater, and other museums and historical sites in downtown DC.  More than one hundred scholars from the United States and many other countries—from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia—will be speaking, presenting papers, and participating on panels on a host of topics related to Whitman’s and Melville’s writing about the Civil War and its aftermath.  Additional conference-sponsored activities will include guided tours of special collections at the Library of Congress and the Folger Shakespeare Library; walking tours of Civil War Washington and Walt Whitman’s Washington; an exhibit of Melville- and Whitman-inspired art by contemporary artists; and a choral performance of Whitman’s and Melville’s poetry. 


Kenneth M. Price is Hillegass University Professor of American literature and co-director of the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  He is the author ofWhitman and Tradition: The Poet in His Century(1990); To Walt Whitman, America(2004); and co-author with Ed Folsom ofRe-Scripting Walt Whitman: An Introduction to His Life and Work(2005). His most recent book is Literary Studies in the Digital Age: An Evolving Anthology, ed. with Ray Siemens (2013). He co-directsThe Walt Whitman ArchiveandCivil War Washington.

Ed Folsom is the editor of theWalt Whitman Quarterly Review, co-director of theWalt Whitman Archive, and editor of the Whitman Series at The University of Iowa Press.  The Roy J. Carver Professor of English at The University of Iowa, he is the author or editor of twelve books, includingWalt Whitman’s Native Representations(1994) and (with Kenneth M. Price)Re-Scripting Walt Whitman (2005). He was featured in the 2008 PBSAmerican Experience film documentary about Whitman, and is now working on a biography ofLeaves of Grass, for which he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Elizabeth Renker is a specialist in American poetry to 1910 and the social life of poetry across classes, cultures, and literacies; she has published widely on American poetics, Melville, American women poets, and the teaching of poetry.  She is the author of Strike Through the Mask: Herman Melville and the Scene of Writing (1996) and The Origins of American Literature Studies: An Institutional History (2007).  Professor of English at Ohio State University, she is the recipient of many awards for distinguished teaching, including a Princeton Review citation in 2012. 

John Bryant serves as the editor of the Melville Society’s Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies and the Melville Electronic Library, an NEH-funded editorial project at Hofstra University, where he is Professor of English.  A specialist in nineteenth-century American literature and culture, he is editor of A Companion to Melville Studies (1986), co-editor of the Longman edition of Moby-Dick (2007), and author of The Fluid Text: A Theory of Revision and Editing for Book and Screen (2002) and Melville Unfolding: Sexuality, Politics, and the Versions of Typee (2008).

Directions to Conference Venues:  The Marvin Center, on the campus of George Washington University, where the conference panels and keynote presentations are scheduled, is located at 800 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC.  The Arts Club of Washington, site of Thursday’s dinner and choral performance, is two blocks away at 2017 I Street, NW.  Both sites are close to the Foggy Bottom/GWU Metro stop (Blue and Orange Lines) on the corner of 23rd and I Streets, NW, and within easy walking distance of the Farragut North Metro stop (Red Line), corner of K St. and Connecticut Ave., NW.  For those making travel arrangements by air:  the Foggy Bottom/GWU Metro stop is on the same Metro Blue Line as Washington (Reagan) National Airport, six stops away.  

Conference fees: $180 (if paid before May 5; $200 if paid after May 5th) covers admission to all presentations, panels, and keynote addresses; and all local walking tours and library tours (library tours are limited and require sign-up).

Payment: To make your registration payment ($180), please use the Registration Paypal button to the right on this page or submit a check in USD to: Treasurer Tony McGowan, Department of English and Philosophy, Bldg. 607 Cullum Road, West Point, NY 10996.

Banquet: Those who wish to attend the 6:30 p.m. banquet dinner on Thursday, June 6th, are asked to indicate their interest on the Registration Form (download link below) and pay the additional $52 charge per person using the Banquet Paypal button to the right on this page ($52) or send a separate check for $52 to the Melville Society’s Treasurer, Tony McGowan at the address above under “Payment.”
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Accommodations:  Various hotel options, at reduced conference rates, are available in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood and within a few blocks of George Washington University, through the following hotel service:

The George Washington University Inn (single or double occupancy): To obtain a guaranteed reservation at the contracted rate ($239 plus occupancy tax; additional person charge of $20 each), call the George Washington University Inn Reservations Department with a valid credit card number before April 18, 2013. 

Call either (800) 426-4455 or (202) 337-6630 and ask for Reservations Office.  Then ask the agent for “Group Name: Melville Society and/or Booking ID: 376451 arriving on Tuesday, June 4, 2013.”

Alternatively, you can register for a room online by clicking here.

IMPORTANT: Note that rooms will be held only until April 18, 2013.  After that date, any unreserved rooms will be released for general sale in the open market, and you will have to pay the going market rate or secure a hotel room on your own.

As an alternative, you may want to conduct your own search for a hotel room (presumably one in Northwest Washington, DC, or nearby Rosslyn, Virginia, and near a Metro stop on the Blue, Orange, or Red Lines of the subway) through Priceline(Rosslyn, Virginia, is just one stop away from the George Washington University.)

Register Now: Although we prefer payment online through the Paypal links provided in the right sidebar of this page, we will also accept your check made out to The Melville Society and sent to our Treasurer Tony McGowan, Department of English and Philosophy, Bldg. 607 Cullum Road, West Point, NY 10996.  Please indicate “Washington Conference” on your memo line.  For registration information, contact Tony at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or Christopher Sten at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view

For further information and updates: Check the Melville Society website or contact one of the conference coordinators:

Christopher Sten This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.          Tyler Hoffman This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Martin Murray This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.          Joseph Fruscione This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Melville Society Facebook Posts

Greg Lennes The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster, MA presents JMW Turner’s Whaling Pictures & "Moby-Dick" with Storyteller, Tom Lee on Saturday, March 24th.
Mindy Wallis The New Bedford Whaling Museum, in partnership with Mystic Seaport, has developed the world's most comprehensive whaling history database and it is now available for all to use at Researchers, genealogists, students, teachers, and history buffs alike will find it to be the most robust and useful repository of whaling history documentation and scholarship.
Whaling History – Connecting All Things Whaling William Bradford, The Port of New Bedford from Crow Island, 1854, oil painting. New Bedford Whaling Museum, 1975.18 Whale oil provided fuel for lighting and lubrication for the gears of the industrial revolution, until it was replaced by petroleum products in the mid-nineteenth century. The whali....
Greg Lennes Scenes from Pittsburgh Opera's "Moby-Dick"
Pittsburgh Opera: Moby-Dick - “Death to Moby Dick!” Captain Ahab (Roger Honeywell) incites the Pequod's crew into swearing that they will hunt and kill the white whale Moby-Dick, which previously took off his ...
Greg Lennes Melvillean TV: Moby-Dick's Captain Ahab appears as a character on ABC's TV series "Once Upon a Time" on the March 16th "Knightfall" episode. Here is a video excerpt - farfetched:) Did the screenplay writers ever read "Moby-Dick?" - probably not!
Greg Lennes "I may here remark by the way — what I subsequently learned — that all the islands of Polynesia enjoy the reputation, in common with the Hibernian isle, of being free from the presence of any vipers; though whether Saint Patrick ever visited them, is a question I shall not attempt to decide." (From "Typee" - Chapter 7)
Greg Lennes "Common Threads is a free annual publication and outreach program produced by Mass Poetry, with a goal to broaden the audience for poetry and support poets and poetry in Massachusetts by helping thousands of people across the Commonwealth come together in small, local groups to read and discuss poetry." For 2018 one of the featured poems in its publication is “Billy in the Darbies” by Melville. According to the editor Alan Feldman the poem "is probably the best poem Melville ever wrote."
Greg Lennes Today in Melvillean History: On March 17, 1846 Melville's "Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life" was published by Wiley & Putnam in America. In London John Murray had published it in late February under the title "Narrative of a Four Month's Residence among the Natives of a Valley of the Marquesas Islands." "Copies were issued in printed wrappers (two volumes) and in blue, brown, green and slate blue cloth, gilt (one volume) as part of Wiley and Putnam's “Library of American Books” series.... The edition was 2,000 copies, of which 1,498 were bound in cloth and 496 in wrappers (the other six copies were defective sets of sheets)." (From "A Checklist of Herman Melville First and Major Editions" by Kevin McDonnell)
Typee : a peep at Polynesian life. During a four months' residence in a valley of the Marquesas The BookReader requires JavaScript to be enabled. Please check that your browser supports JavaScript and that it is enabled in the browser settings. You can also try one of the other formats of the book.
Eileen Valentino Flaxman You can open Moby-Dick just about anywhere and along with spectacular narrative and stunningly beautiful prose, you're likely to find something philosophical that can apply to your 21st century life. I was inspired by a few … Chapter 45 - The Affidavit We fear what we do not understand. Ignorance is not bliss but an instigator, with stories, fables, even downright lies filling in the blanks and believed true. Men are moved by such things. From ear to ear, from man to man, from ship to ship . . . Careers made Lives changed, Leaving carnage in its wake. Chapter 98 - Stowing Down and Clearing Up Tis in whaling as in Life, there is no rest, for one thing follows another. No matter how arduous, still harder tasks will come and often a man just catches his breath when along comes another. So what is the point, exactly? Like Pythagoras - and sometimes feeling like Sisyphus - we discover, we learn, we teach and we work. Over and over and over again. From my collection
Greg Lennes Mt. Greylock
Herman Melville's Arrowhead We've run this quote before, but not in mid-March! Photograph of Mt. Greylock taken this morning, from Arrowhead.
"I have a sort of sea-feeling here in the country… My room seems a ship’s cabin; and at nights when I wake up and hear the winds shrieking, I almost fancy there is too much sail on the house, and I had better go on the roof and rig the chimney.”
Herman Melville writing to Evert Duychinck from Arrowhead, December, 1850.
Colin Dewey This Saturday in San Francisco!
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park Breaching this Saturday in the Maritime Museum’s Blue Room: “Does the Whale’s Magnitude Diminish? Maritime Labor and the Environment in Melville’s Moby-Dick." Join Associate Professor Amy Parsons’ free gam at 1pm, and learn how the classic American novel frames the environmental and human cost of the industry’s tremendous riches during “the golden age of whaling.”


Fellowships and Scholarships

Melville Society Archive
Walter E. Bezanson Fellowship
The Melville Society, under the auspices of the Melville Society Cultural Project in New Bedford, offers an annual fellowship to help a scholar undertake research on Herman Melville at the Society’s Archive in the Research Library of the Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts.


Click here for more information and application details.


New York Public Library
Short-term Research Fellowships


Graduate students or other affiliated academics whose work would benefit from visiting the Manuscripts and Archives Division to view collections such as the Gansevoort-Lansing collection, and Duyckinck family papers are encouraged to apply.


Click here for more information and application details.

From Our Photo Collections

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Woodlawn Cemetary

WoodlawnWoodlawn Cemetary - final resting place of Herman, his wife, Elizabeth, and other family members. Click here to view photos of the gravesites.

125th Anniversary Celebration

125th Woodlawn

A celebration of Melville's life at Woodlawn Cemetary on the 125th anniversary of his passing.

Lansingburgh Historical Society

Melville House

Melville lived for nine years in this Lansingburgh house. It was here that he wrote Typee and Omoo

Berkshire Historical Society

ArrowheadMelville's Arrowhead home and farm in Pittsfield, MA where he wrote Moby-Dick and lived for most of the 1850s.