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.

The Eaton Portrait

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

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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.

Herman Melville's Arrowhead

BHS FB HM portraitHerman Melville's Arrowhead Facebook Group page of the Berkshire Historical Society. Celebrating historical Berkshire County and Herman Melville's Arrowhead, the farm and home where Melville lived while writing Moby-Dick.

Call for Papers - 12th International Conference - Melville's Bicentennial

Melville's Origins

New York University
New York, NY

June 17-20, 2019

Please submit proposals by October 1, 2018 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(download link to CFP located below)

NYU 400


The Twelfth International Melville Society Conference will take place at New York University to celebrate the bicentennial of Herman Melville's birth in lower Manhattan in 1819. The conference will commemorate Melville's life, work, and legacies through a series of papers and conversations devoted to the theme of “origins” broadly conceived. We invite proposals for individual papers or panels organized around MELVILLE’S ORIGINS as it relates to historicist, theoretical, textual, biographical, and pedagogical approaches to Melville’s writings and to the history of their reception in criticism, adaptation, the digital world, popular culture, and the fine arts.

We are delighted to announce that our keynote speakers will be Rodrigo Lazo, Professor of English at UC-Irvine, and Wyn Kelley, Senior Lecturer in Literature at MIT. In addition to the regular panels and roundtables at New York University, there will be a number of special events and Melville-related excursions around New York City. We are also planning an optional post-conference daytrip to Mystic, CT, to tour the historic seaport and see the 1841 whale ship, Charles W. Morgan, on Friday, June 21.

For those traveling to New York City, we are working to procure reasonably priced suites in a residence hall on campus. More details will be available at our conference website, www.melville2019.weebly.com, scheduled to go live the last week of September.

Please submit proposals by October 1, 2018 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Paper proposals should not exceed 300 words, and panel proposals should not exceed 1000 words. In addition to submissions for traditional panels and individual papers, proposals for roundtables, workshops, and sessions using new presentation formats are particularly welcome. Proposals for anything involving more than one person should indicate the names of all participants and the nature of their contributions. In the subject line please use the format [“proposal type, surname,” e.g. “Paper, Smith”] and name the file using the format [“surname, first name,” e.g. “Smith, John”].

We welcome proposals from independent scholars, creative artists, and academic scholars of diverse institutional affiliation, academic rank, and disciplinary background. We can accept two proposals from an individual so long as they involve two different roles (e.g. paper presenter as well as panel chair or roundtable discussant).

* Papers might focus on Melville’s works in relation to the terms "origins" and "original" as they were understood in various nineteenth-century discourses: for example, political and ethnological debates about national origins, racial lineage, or indigeneity; philosophical formulations of an essential or “aboriginal” self (to use Emerson’s phrase); scientific theories about the genesis of the cosmos, life-forms, and new species; proto-anthropological conversations about human origins, the origins of language, and the role of animals as intercessors between humankind and a primeval past; theological debates over “original sin” and human depravity; proto-psychological theories about the roots of morality, sexual desire, mental faculties, and personality traits.

* “Originality” is also a hallmark of the Romantic artist, and papers might explore Melville’s attitudes regarding this aesthetic. What do we make of Melville’s claim that “it is better to fail in originality, than to succeed in imitation,” especially in light of his own penchant for borrowing from other writers? Papers might explore Melville’s views of intellectual property and the publishing industry, his thinking about “original characters” in fiction, or his varied responses to Evert Duyckinck and Young America’s call for an original American literature. Likewise, papers might examine the importance assigned to artistic originality in popular and scholarly assessments of Melville’s writing.

* We also encourage papers that deploy “origins” as a key term for current theoretical approaches to Melville’s works. As a designation of both temporal and spatial starting points, the concept of origins might help us think about the commencement of narrative (“Call me Ishmael”) or the commencement of movement within an imagined geography—both of which might also be visualized through digital mapping. Scholars engaged in textual historiography, history of the book, or manuscript editing might discuss the problems of discerning an original text from the multiple versions and editions of Melville's works as well as explore the possibilities of using digital technology to present textual variants.

* We hope papers will use this anniversary to reflect on the nineteenth-century response to Melville’s works and on the origins and development of Melville Studies since its inception a century ago, to assess the current state of the field, and to think speculatively about new directions for scholarship and teaching. What new insights might be gleaned from revisiting Melville's origins in New York City—a beacon for global migration and a center of arts and letters—as well as the myriad materials from which he derived ideas and inspiration?

* Scholarship has often worked in tandem with creative responses to Melville by artists of various media, and accordingly, we also invite papers that think about the role of Melville-inspired contemporary art in opening new avenues of interpretation. How do such artistic appropriations suggest the relationship of an adaptation to its original, and how are Melville’s works transformed by such borrowings, filmic, fictional, artistic, and otherwise?

Please direct any questions to Jennifer Baker at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Tony McGowan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Date 2018-05-27
File Size 61.49 KB
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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.

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.