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.

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 of Whitman and Tradition: The Poet in His Century (1990); To Walt Whitman, America (2004); and co-author with Ed Folsom of Re-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-directs The Walt Whitman Archive and Civil War Washington.

Ed Folsom is the editor of the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, co-director of the Walt 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, including Walt Whitman’s Native Representations (1994) and (with Kenneth M. Price) Re-Scripting Walt Whitman (2005).  He was featured in the 2008 PBS American Experience film documentary about Whitman, and is now working on a biography of Leaves 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).

Conference Program

Click the link below to download or view a printable copy of the program.

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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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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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click to start slideshow

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.