The Melville Society is dedicated to the study and appreciation of the nineteenth-century American author Herman Melville, writer of Typee, Moby-Dick, and Billy Budd, such short stories as “Bartleby” and “Benito Cereno,” and several volumes of poetry, including Battle-Pieces and the epic Clarel
We publish the award-winning journal Leviathan which all members receive three times a year and which offers scholarly articles, book and art reviews, Society news, and Melville-related events. Membership is open to all. For information about Leviathan and joining The Melville Society click here.

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.

2019 Modern Language Association Conference
January 3 to 6, 2019

Pritzker Pavilion flickr Jason Mrachina MLA2019

You’re invited to our annual Melville Society Dinner and a cocktail hour,
which will take place just after our panel. The dinner will be held at the Palm Chicago
which is conveniently located in the Swissôtel that is connected to the Hyatt.
Click here to view details and RSVP.

Friday, January 4, 2019 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM
The Palm Chicago

323 E. Upper Wacker Dr
Chicago IL 60601

In addition to Rodrigo Lazo's panel, "Reading The Confidence-Man Today," Kim Evans' panel on "Melville’s Quarrel with Modernity" was accepted. While it's not directly a Society event John Matteson and Edlie Wong's "American Lives: Whitman and Melville" was also accepted. We'll be hosting our first cash bar! It should be a nice bridge between our panels and our dinner… and an opportunity to do something special for the bicentennial. Scheduling information will be posted soon.

Reading The Confidence-Man Today

What types of interpretations come up when someone reads the The Confidence-Man in light of recent events? Presenters should offer short, reflective pieces (8 minutes) that provoke discussion. Although a lack of faith (or confidence) in political institutions is a major part of news reports today, presenters may focus on any of the topics brought up in Melville’s book, including stocks and finance, religious organizations, charity, racial identity, belief, and other considerations. Other approaches could include reflections on reading historically or the dynamics of re-reading today.

Organizer: Rodrigo Lazo
Panelists: Peter Bellis, Russ Castronovo, Meredith Farmer, Justine Murison, Sam Otter

Melville’s Quarrel with Modernity

Melville is not recognized for the clarity of his philosophical arguments. But the argument driving this panel is that Melville’s philosophical arguments have been miscategorized: taken to embody the ethos of the distinctively modern world, when in fact what they offer is nothing less than a wide-ranging rejection of modernity’s dominant assumptions. Panelists turn a harsh light on some of the beliefs that characterize modern Western thought.

Organizer: K.L. Evans
Panelists: Jason de Stefano, Willis McCumber, Pilar Martinez Benedi, Joe Conway, Tim Sweet, K.L. Evans
Respondent: Michael Puett

American Lives: Whitman and Melville

At their bicentennial, we examine the challenges and rewards of writing the lives of Whitman and Melville. Who were they? Who, via scholarship, have they become?

Organizer: John Matteson and Edlie Wong
Panelists: Michael Bateman, Kelvin Beliele, John Bryant, Meredith Farmer


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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.