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.

American Literature Association

Call for Papers – Three Panels

29th Annual Conference
May 24-27, 2018

San Francisco Hyatt Regency 

SF Hyatt ALA 2018

Click here for the ALA 2018 Conference Registration Website

Panel 1: Herman Melville and the Emergence of Trumpism

In 2011, both Seth Meyers and President Obama made several jokes about Donald Trump during the White House Correspondents Dinner. From his involvement in the Miss USA pageant and reality television to his fragile relationship with communities of color, no area from Trump's brash and ostentatious lifestyle was, for several minutes that evening, off limits. However, by November 8, 2016, the very areas that the former president and Meyers poked fun at, in part, were the very areas that aided Trump in becoming the next president of the United States.

Trumpism is a term coined to capture the emergence of the radical branch of Republicanism responsible for Trump's unorthodox journey to the White House. Given the relevance of American political values in Herman Melville's major works, this panel seeks papers that undertake the ways that Melville's publications address some of the enduring issues that have fueled Trump's presidency. What can Melville's art add to discussions in our historical moment relating to America's political landscape and president? Topics may include but are not restricted to gender; traditionalism; classism; race; mass-immigration; surveillance; white nationalism; monument removal; the rise of the alt-right; sexism; birtherism; fake news.

To propose a paper, please submit a 250-word abstract and a 100-word bio to James Noel (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) by January 26, 2018.

Panel 2: Melville in the Anthropocene (sponsored by the Melville Society and ASLE)

Kathryn Yusoff’s recent work on anthropogenesis and Timothy Clark’s Ecocriticism on the Edge exemplify two critical tendencies, two senses of the idea of the Anthropocene. Clark argues that the Anthropocene “names a newly recognized context that entails a chastening recognition of the limits of cultural representation as a force of change in human affairs, as compared to the numerous economic, meteorological, geographical and microbiological factors and population dynamics, as well as scale effects” (Ecocriticism 21). This scalar gap is, for Clark, “crucial to defining the eventhood of the Anthropocene as a threshold concept. The predatory supremacy of global neoliberal capitalism would represent a further, exploitative intensification of this scalar disjunctiveness …as a way of gaining power over human and nonhuman others” (Ecocriticism 151).

Yusoff draws on the work of Donna Haraway and Elizabeth Grosz to account for what is problematic in the idea of the Anthropocene itself as a means to critique the exploitative intensification it identifies. It contains “a form of Anthropogenesis a new origin story and ontics for man that radically rewrites material modes of differentiation and concepts of life, from predominantly biopolitical notions of life toward an understanding of life’s geophysical origination” suggesting “a more nuanced notion of ‘geological life’” (3) but also a reinscription of human as Man and Man as world-maker, obfuscating “climate racism, social injustice in fossil fuels, and differentiated histories of responsibility through homogenization in a ‘we’ of the Anthropocene” (7). Ultimately, Yusoff suggests we “stay with the ‘promise’ of the Anthropocene as the configuring of an epochal moment of planetary thought, despite, and possibly because of all the explicit problems that make … [it]… an easy target and malleable term” (8).

This panel welcomes papers that engage with any sense of the "malleable term" that the Anthropocene has become. Here we welcome theoretical work that engages with Melville's texts or readings of Melville that respond to the wide range of topics that are linked to the anthropocene: from climate, ecology, energy, geology, and meteorology to posthumanism, materialism, and broader questions of scale.

Please send abstracts (one page or less) and CVs to Dr. Helena Feder (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Meredith Farmer (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) by January 20th.

Panel 3: Bartleby Now

High-spectrum; Refusenik; Divinity. This panel proposes to think about “Bartleby Now,” taking up what continental philosophers and American literary critics alike have long grappled with as the limit-case of the human. We are particularly interested in how cognitive approaches to literature shape our return to this text and figure. In light of Amit Pinchevski’s 2011 assessment of “Bartleby’s Autism” and Agamben’s still resonant reading of Melville’s scrivener as a subject of “pure, absolute potentiality,” what does a critical and, indeed, popular attachment to Bartleby mean today? We ask that panelists take more of a roundtable approach by hazarding some broadly philosophical conjectures about what Bartleby is or might still be. An interdisciplinary angle is welcome in theorizing and defining what our Bartleby Problem is now.

For consideration, please submit an abstract of 250-300 words to Wendy Lee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by January 22, 2018.



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Melville Society Facebook Posts

Greg Lennes Today in Melvillean History: On January 22, 1921 an editorial appeared in the "London Nation" praising Melville's writings: “It is clear that the wind of the spirit, when it once begins to blow through the English literary mind, possesses a surprising power of penetration. A few weeks ago it was pleased to aim a simultaneous blast in the direction of a book known to some generations of men as Moby-Dick. A member of the staff of The Nation was thereupon moved in the ancient Hebrew fashion to buy and to read it. He then expressed himself on the subject, incoherently indeed, but with signs of emotion as intense and as pleasingly uncouth as Man Friday betrayed at the sight of his long-lost father. While struggling with his article, and wondering what the deuce it could mean, I received a letter from a famous literary man, marked on the outside ‘Urgent,’ and on the inner scroll of the manuscript itself ‘A Rhapsody.’ It was about Moby-Dick. Having observed a third article on the same subject, of an equally febrile kind, I began to read Moby-Dick myself. Having done so I hereby declare, being of sane intellect, that since letters began there never was such a book, and that the mind of man is not constructed so as to produce such another; that I put its author with Rabelais, Swift, Shakespeare, and other minor and disputable worthies; and that I advise any adventurer of the soul to go at once to the morose and prolonged retreat necessary for its deglutition.” :)
Greg Lennes From Salt Lake Tribune: "‘Moby-Dick’ opera transforms a massive novel into a human-scaled epic"
‘Moby-Dick’ opera transforms a massive novel into a human-scaled epic One of America’s most intimidating novels is now one of its most compelling operas.
Wyn Kelley Please get the word out! "MOBY-DICK and the World of Whaling in the Digital Age." NEH-funded Summer Teaching Institute to be held at the New Bedford Whaling Museum (New Bedford, MA) from June 17-30, 2018. Staffed by members of the Melville Society Cultural Project. March 1 deadline for teachers to apply for a spot. Spread the news!
Colin Dewey Spread the word to K-12 teachers you know! What a golden opportunity!
Melville Electronic Library Please get the word out! "MOBY-DICK and the World of Whaling in the Digital Age." NEH-funded Summer Teaching Institute to be held at the New Bedford Whaling Museum (New Bedford, MA) from June 17-30, 2018. Staffed by members of the Melville Society Cultural Project. March 1 deadline for teachers to apply for a spot. Spread the news!
Clifford Jacobs Herman Melville. Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx New York. 2018-01-18T20:37:34+0000
Greg Lennes "Bringing Moby-Dick to the People: A Reading Marathon as a Class Community Engagement Project" by Marlowe Daly-Galeano.
Bringing Moby-Dick to the People: A Reading Marathon as a Class Community Engagement Project PALS Note: We are thrilled to have this guest post by Marlowe Daly-Galeano, an associate professor of English at Lewis-Clark State College, about a class project to develop and host a reading marat…
Eileen Valentino Flaxman I’ve never steered a ship at midnight nor dozed alongside a dead whale. Even so, I can relate to the hazards of lying awake – wherever situated – unable to still my mind . . . Chapter 96 – The Try–Works Whether your hand be on the tiller or the bedpost the night has a crafty way of turning dark things darker, scarier, more threatening. Especially at risk is that man prone to contemplation, for there are no limits to such a mind when the sun sets and the moon disappears. All one can do is pray for morning when the light of day puts to rest the torments of the night before. Chapter 117 – The Whale Watch Floating half-asleep beside a dead whale, a man's dreams turn toward death, and visions of hearses and coffins and gallows startle him awake. With a quick laugh and a vehement denial, he chases the fear away. “Immortal on land and on sea,” he insists, his hollow laugh ringing out over the empty, bleak night. He fools no one, not even himself. from my collection - 2018-01-19T16:01:06+0000
Colin Dewey
Why Does Moby-Dick (Sometimes) Have a Hyphen? The hunt for the true story behind Melville's hyphen is as mysterious as the famous white whale
Fernando Colavita "¿Y que sucedería si Ahab abandonara la búsqueda? Probablemente la pierna inexistente le dolería toda la vida" 2018-01-19T00:46:48+0000
Eli Ag Just started playing this but so far the details are fantastic. More like a board game then a video game, beautiful artwork too.
Picaresque Studio » Nantucket Nantucket is a strategy seafaring game set in the golden age of American whaling, during the first half of the 19th century. The story takes place a few years after the disaster of the Pequod, where Captain Ahab and his crew lost their lives to Moby Dick. In the role of Ishmael, the only survivor of...
Greg Lennes From the Melvilliana Blog: New research by Scott Norsworthy discovers that Melville's comic sketch "The Lightning-Rod Man" was reprinted in several contemporary newspapers, including the Albany Evening Journal (August 5, 1854). It was originally published in the August 1854 issue of Putnam's Monthly Magazine.
The Lightning-Rod Man, reprinted from Putnam's in the Albany Evening Journal and elsewhere Cyclopædia of Wit and Humor Originally published in the August 1854 issue of Putnam's Monthly Magazine , Melville's comic sketch "The...
Greg Lennes FYI - "slight dash of flunkeyism" :)
Why Does Moby-Dick (Sometimes) Have a Hyphen? The hunt for the true story behind Melville's hyphen is as mysterious as the famous white whale
Brian Yothers Please see the attached CFP for an opportunity to submit essays for consideration for the "Melville at 200" special issues of Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies, in celebration of the 2019 bicentennial of Melville's birth. 2018-01-17T21:20:38+0000
Lawrence Klaes
“Therefore his shipmates called him mad”: The Science of Moby-Dick (In 2013, the Los Angeles Public Library asked me to write an essay about the science in Moby-Dick for an online celebration of the book…
Lawrence Klaes
Carl Zimmer Looks at the Science of Moby-Dick Moby-Dick is a literary masterwork, but science author Carl Zimmer examines the scientific depth of Herman Melville's greatest novel.
Veselin Kuburovic Many thanks for accepting my request to join this group. I bought ``Billy Budd & Other Stories`` on January 8th. Anyone here willing to give good recommendation on this work?
Greg Lennes The play based on Jana Laiz's book about Melville, "Billy Budd in the Breadbox!"
Berkshire Theatre Group Ahoy, Matey! History comes to life in the exciting and engaging new play, "Billy Budd in the Breadbox," about Herman Melville, author of "Moby Dick." Running at the Garage (in the Colonial Lobby) during 2018 School Vacation Week (2/18-2/24).

Featuring stirring stories about local Berkshire history, including Arrowhead, Mt. Greylock, and Monument Mountain, "Billy Budd in the Breadbox," is suggested for ages 6 and up. Tickets are on sale now >> or call 413-997-4444. #intheberkshires #hermanmelville
Greg Lennes From NPR: "Moby-Dick Marathon – Celebrating An American Literary Classic "
Moby Dick Marathon – Celebrating An American Literary Classic On the frigid first weekend in January, crowds gathered inside the large gallery at the New Bedford Whaling Museum for the 22 nd annual Moby Dick Marathon.
Fernando Colavita My favorite book ever... 2018-01-17T00:49:15+0000
Greg Lennes "The 22nd Moby Dick Marathon at New Bedford Whaling Museum" by Caroline Hack - enjoyable essay on the event!
The 22nd Moby Dick Marathon at New Bedford Whaling Museum - Caroline Hack The 22nd Moby Dick Marathon at New Bedford Whaling Museum 2018


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.