The Eaton Portrait

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

click for larger image


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.

Moby Dick Marathon 2012

The New Bedford Whaling Museum’s 16th annual Moby-Dick Marathon celebrates the 160th anniversary of Herman Melville’s literary masterpiece with a 25-hour nonstop reading of the book during a weekend of activities and events, January 6 – 8, 2012, including a performance by the critically acclaimed American tenor, Jonathan Boyd. Admission to the marathon is free.

On Friday, January 6 at 5:30 p.m. the weekend kicks off with a ticketed buffet dinner and cash bar in the Jacobs Family Gallery. For tickets to the dinner ($25), call (508) 997-0046 ext. 100.

Dinner will be followed by a free public lecture titled “Moby-Dick in American Popular Culture,” presented by Dr. Timothy Marr, at 7:15 p.m. in the Cook Memorial Theater. Co-editor of “Ungraspable Phantom: Essays on Moby-Dick,” Professor Marr teaches American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He serves as an executive member of the Melville Society Cultural Project and is a contributor to the Melville and the Digital Humanities project of the Melville Electronic Library.

On Saturday, January 7 at 10:00 a.m., “Stump the Scholars II,” returns by popular demand – a free program in which the audience is invited to pose questions to Melville Society scholars on all matters Moby-Dick in the Cook Memorial Theater. Patterned after NPR’s popular quiz show, “Wait, wait, don’t tell me,” prizes will be awarded to those who can stump the scholars.

At 11:30 a.m. in the Bourne Building, Melville Society members will read many of the 80 brief Extracts related to whales and whaling, which Melville included before Chapter 1.

At noon, the Moby-Dick Marathon begins with “Call me Ishmael” – the most famous opening line in American literature. With more than 150 scheduled readers, the marathon will continue through the night, ending early Sunday afternoon. All reading slots have been booked. The public is cordially invited to come and go at any time during the marathon, or stay for the entire 25 hours and win a prize.

On Saturday at approximately 1:30 p.m., marathon participants will walk next door to the historic Seamen’s Bethel (est. 1832) – located at 15 Johnny Cake Hill for the reading of Chapters  7, 8, and 9, titled “The Chapel,” The Pulpit,” and “The Sermon”  – all three chapters take place in the original “Whaleman’s Chapel.”  This segment will feature a performance by Jonathan Boyd, the critically acclaimed American tenor starring in the San Diego Opera’s co-production of Jake Heggie’s “Moby-Dick” a new opera hailed “a triumph” by the Dallas Morning News. Boyd has made recent notable debuts at Opéra de Nice and Opéra de Toulon, and has performed with opera companies throughout the United States. He will sing the hymn from Chapter 9.

Readers and guests are also invited to “Chat with a Melville Scholar” from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Wattles Family Gallery or take a guided tour of the “Imagining Moby!” exhibit with Dr. Robert Wallace, Northern Kentucky University.

Chapter 40, “Midnight, Forecastle” will be performed in the Cook Memorial Theater by members of Culture*Park, a theater and performing arts collaborative.

Three related exhibits during the marathon include, “Imagining Moby!,” “Visualizing Melville” and the 1956 Moby-Dick publicity panels. “Imagining Moby!” showcases the collection of Melville scholar, Dr. Elizabeth A. Schultz, including works by Leonard Baskin, Richard Ellis and Rockwell Kent in the Centre Street Gallery, Level 2. “Visualizing Melville” pairs items from the Museum’s collections with Melville’s vivid text, including “Quakers with a vengeance” and “a heathenish array of monstrous clubs and spears” in the Changing Gallery, Level 2. The 1956 Moby-Dick publicity panels feature movie memorabilia displayed in the windows of the Research Library.

Melville_e_03Mystic Seaport A-Twitter
Over "Moby-Dick"

July 31, Sunday - Noon

to August 1, Monday - Noon

"Twitter is an innovative way for us to share this special event with a global audience," said Museum president Stephen C. White.  "Nowhere else does 'Moby-Dick' come alive the way it does on the decks of the Morgan, the sole surviving ship of the fleet that inspired Melville."

A tradition at Mystic Seaport, the "Moby-Dick" Marathon is an uninterrupted reading aloud of all 135 chapters of the work onboard the Charles W. Morgan, the Museum's 1841 whaleship. Visitors, Museum volunteers and staff sign up to take turns reading, except for the first chapter, "Loomings," and the Epilogue, which are read by an actor playing Melville. The Marathon begins Sunday, July 31, at noon, and concludes shortly before noon, Monday, August 1.

For 2011, Mystic Seaport decided to expand the reach of the experience and will live-tweet the entire Marathon at @MbyDickMarathon. The account will feature a live Ustream video feed of the event, general information, and highlights of the proceedings, as well as contests and polls that relate to chapters in "Moby-Dick."

Museum staff will also tweet on three other Twitter accounts that will be visible on the main account page:

  • @MS_PopCulture will tweet links to images in the Mystic Seaport collections, images of relevant parts of the Morgan whaleship, and explanations of 19th century vocabulary in the novel.
  • @MS_Collections will tweet links to images, video clips, stories, songs, and other "Moby-Dick" references in pop culture.
  • @MSeaportScience will tweet science-related information, videos, and images regarding whales, oceanography, and weather as they appear in the novel.

The hashtag for the event is #MDM2011

Those who wish to participate physically can do so as a daytime or overnight visitor. Daytime participation is free with Museum admission. Copies of the novel will be available for those who wish to follow along. Overnight tickets include the rare opportunity to sleep onboard the Morgan. Only registered ticket holders will be allowed to stay aboard after Museum hours.

Tickets are $25 ($23 for Museum members) and include a light breakfast Monday morning. Reservations can be made by calling (860) 572-5322.

For more information, please visit


Last month March 2018 Next month
week 9 1 2 3
week 10 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
week 11 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
week 12 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
week 13 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

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

9631864332 E01e17840b B
click to start slideshow

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.