The Eaton Portrait

Eaton portrait of Herman Melville
By permission of Houghton Library
Harvard University: 61Z-4

(Click to view a 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.


The Eleventh International Melville Society Conference

Melville’s Crossings

King’s College London, June 27-30 2017

(PDF download link below)

Submission Deadline: September 15, 2016
Submission Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Liverpool docks
Liverpool Docks

When Herman Melville came to London in 1849 as a suddenly successful travel writer, lauded on both sides of the Atlantic, he entered into a complex cultural economy that would define his later work. Although he was ostensibly in the old world to hawk his new book, he benefitted from the trip in ways that were less professional than aesthetically transformative. As he browsed the bookshops and witnessed, alternately, the grand imperial splendour of Victorian London and the rankness of uncontrolled industrialisation, he picked up a series of crucial scenes and literary topoi that would shape his future work. From Thomas Carlyle to the bachelors of Temple to the art galleries to the phantasmic world of poverty that percolated into Israel Potter, Melville’s second trip to Britain gave him the raw source material that launched the second phase of his career.

At the 2017 Melville Conference, we want to explore questions that emerged from his trips to London and Great Britain. Located by the Thames in the heart of the city, a mere ten minutes walk from 25 Craven Street where Melville stayed in 1849, King’s College London’s location will act as a starting point for a series of broader conceptual problems and issues. As a starting point, the London setting will allow for the reconsideration of the place of a number of problematic and less-discussed transatlantic texts and figures in Melville’s oeuvre: from Redburn to Israel Potter to “The Paradise of Bachelors,” to Gansevoort Melville and Herman’s British sailing companions, the conference offers the chance to cast light on some more obscure moments of his life and works.

There are also wider conceptual issues at stake. For us, the word “crossings,” more than any other, defines how Melville related to Great Britain. Crossing the Atlantic generated a series of other critically complex crossings: these include gender transgression, racial reversals, national boundary blurring, questions of copyright violation and illicit book circulation, class inversions, Atlantic literary collisions, textual crossings out, political reformations, and much more besides. In the spirit of the conference, we will welcome responses that consider the transatlantic frame of the long nineteenth century more generally, as well as papers that engage with the dynamics of transgression implied by the word “crossing.”

In addition to traditional 15 to 20 minute seminar papers, we invite creative approaches to the conference format. We will be running focused seminar sessions and also invite pecha kucha presentations, lightning panels, roundtable proposals, and panel submissions. We are particularly interested in panels and roundtables that cross international borders in terms of their participants and which feature colleagues at different stages of their academic career. Panels require four presenters and need to leave time for discussion (panels are 90 minutes long).

Please submit proposals by September 15th 2016 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In the subject line please use the format [proposal type, surname e.g. Paper, Smith] and save the file in the format [surname, first name]. Please direct any informal questions to this address or to the organisers Ed Sugden (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Janet Floyd (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). Please limit paper proposals to 250 words, panel proposals to 1000 words.

Click the link below to download a PDF of a printable CFP.

{phocadownload view=file|id=30|text=Printable CFP - London 2017|target=b}

Current Facebook Posts

Greg Lennes Today in Melvillean history: On August the 19th 1819, Melville is baptized at home by J. M. Mathews, a minister of the South Reformed Dutch Church in New York City.
Greg Lennes Melvillean Solar Eclipse: From Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land (1876) - 3.5.60-65 "This change, this dusking change that slips (Like the penumbra o'er the sun), Over the faith transmitted down; Foreshadows it complete eclipse?" Footnote: "The "penumbra" is the Earth's shadow that falls upon the moon during a lunar eclipse, but Melville here is applying the term to a solar eclipse." (From "Herman Melville: Stargazer" By Brett Zimmerman) The first photo of a total solar eclipse, shown here, was a daguerreotype by the Prussian photographer Johann Julius Friedrich Berkowski. (July 28, 1851 - same year that Moby-Dick was published) :) 2017-08-19T15:30:17+0000
Greg Lennes Review: The Eleventh International Melville Society Conference (June 27 - June 30, 2017) by Hannah Murray.
Review: The Eleventh International Melville Society ConferenceKings College London Organised around the focus of ‘Melville’s crossings’, the event covered the breadth and depth of Melville studies and paid close attention to Melville’s dialogues with philosophy and aesthetic theo…
Colin Dewey All members of the Melville Society receive three print issues of our award-winning journal, Leviathan, per year. With membership rates beginning at only $25 this is an incredible bargain.
Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies | JHU Press EditorSamuel Otter, University of California, Berkeley Steven Olsen-Smith, Leviathan PODCAST: Steven Olsen-Smith, Leviathan Leviathan features a bounty of scholarly articles, notes, reviews, and creative writing of a critical, theoretical, cultural, or historical nature on the impressive body of wor...
Eileen Valentino Flaxman MOBY DICK - Ch. 16 – THE SHIP is about everything being ready for sail: the crew is on board, the larder is stocked. But no Captain Ahab. For days, the men are in limbo, waiting for their captain to arrive . . . A ship in the harbor a ship not at sea is no ship at all, strange and solitary. A ship with no captain, not anywhere seen is not yet alive but mere joints and beams. But when sails unfurl and Ahab walks the deck and the salt spray stings the back of my neck Then the Pequod will reign and come into its own With the ocean its kingdom and the waves its throne.
Greg Lennes From Providence Journal: The Berkshire County Historical Society's annual hike up Monument Mountain on August 6th:
Annual Berkshires hike marks a literary moment A visit to western Massachusetts includes a stop at Monument Mountain and Arrowhead, the home of the great author Herman Melville.
Greg Lennes Melvillean Trivia: October Mountain Shelter along the Massachusetts Appalachian Trail is said to have been named by Melville, who wrote “One fine morning I sallied forth upon the errand I had much ado finding the best road to the shanty. No one seemed to know where it was exactly. It lay in a very lonely part of the country, a densely wooded mountain on one side (which I call October Mountain on account of its bannered aspect in that month), and a thicketed swamp on the other.” (From his short story - COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO ! OR THE CROWING OF THE NOBLE COCK BENEVENTANO" - 1853). Here is the present shelter in the October Mountain State Forest:
October Mountain Shelter October Mountain Shelter
Colin Dewey Note to members: The Melville Society will now be communicating with members via email rather than snail mail. The Executive Committee has chosen "Survey Monkey" as our platform for official polling and elections, so we will no longer send paper ballots. Please accept Survey Monkey messages from the Melville Society and make sure when you renew your Society membership that your email and postal mailing addresses are up to date. If you have opted-out of Survey Monkey emails in the past you will not receive ballot or election materials. To opt-in visit Note that this not affect our journal, Leviathan, which you will continue to receive just as you have been. Thank you!
SurveyMonkey: Free online survey software & questionnaire tool Opt in or out of receiving emails from SurveyMonkey.
Colin Dewey Visit to learn about the society and membership.
Home A society dedicated to the study and appreciation of the nineteenth-century American author Herman Melville
Colin Dewey Established in 1947, the Melville Society is one of the largest international single-author societies, dedicated to the study of the life and works of Herman Melville, and their cultural impact since the nineteenth century. The organization enjoys the fellowship of scholars, artists, teachers, writers, readers, and enthusiasts throughout the world. All members receive our award-winning journal Leviathan, which is published three times a year by Johns Hopkins University Press, and offers scholarly articles, book and art reviews, Society news, and Melville-related current events. With subscriptions starting at just $25 per year, our membership remains an incredible bargain. To join, or learn more, go to:

From Our Photo Collections

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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.

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.