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.

Call for Submissions: Moby-Dick Poetry Anthology

In Moby-Dick, Melville describes his tattooed harpooner, Queequeg, as "a riddle to unfold; a wondrous work in one volume." In this description, Melville challenges readers to try to unfold or understand his own "wondrous work in one volume." Since the Melville Revival of 1930, Moby-Dick continues to inspire a multiplicity and diversity of interpretations and readers—critics, artists, dramatists, cartoonists, politicians, film-makers, dramatists, poets—to use a mosaic of means to respond to his novel.

In the anticipation of publishing an anthology of poems responding to Moby-Dick, we would like to invite poetry submissions of one-to-five pages (this may include several poems or one long poem), totaling no more than 1400 words. So many media offer viable modes of response to Moby-Dick, but perhaps it is in poetry that we might weave most intricately, dive most deeply in response to his novel.

Please send your submissions to Kylan Rice ( and Elizabeth Schultz ( by July 1, 2016.

NOTE: Clicking the email address will not open your email program, copy/paste the address into your email program, but be sure to substitute @ for the AT that was inserted to foil spambots.


Melville Society at San Francisco Opera for Moby-Dick

Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer

 Saturday, October 13, 2012 at 8 pm

San Francisco Opera

Moby Dick Poster JPEG FINALsm

The Melville Society and San Francisco Opera invite you to Moby-Dick on Saturday, October 13 at 8 pm. San Francisco Opera is pleased to offer Melville Society members a special 20% off tickets. To purchase tickets, visit: – be sure to enter code: MELVILLE20

On Thursday, October 11, two days prior to the October 13, 8 pm performance, there will be a Symposium on the "Moby-Dick" opera with composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer. It will be led by Samuel Otter (English Dept., Berkeley), Robert K. Wallace (English Dept., Northern Kentucky University), and John Kapusta (Music Dept., Berkeley). The Thursday October 11 Symposium will begin at 3 pm at 315 Wheeler Hall, University of California, Berkeley. The Symposium will likely be followed by a performance by one of the singers. Everyone is welcome.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that this masterpiece of American literature has been transformed into “a vibrant, compelling piece of musical theater” by Dead Man Walking composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer. A cast of brilliant singing actors is led by Ben Heppner as the fierce, obsessive whaling-boat captain whose descent into madness puts his crew in mortal danger.

Read more ...


Syracuse Stage

October 10 - November 4, 2012 


The Syracuse Stage is staging the play Moby-Dick — adapted by Julian Rad and directed by Peter Amsteras —  as one of the opening shows of their 40th season. The show opens October 12th and runs until November 4th, 2012. Syracuse Stage, founded in 1974, is a professional theater in residence at Syracuse University and is Central New York’s premier professional theatre.

Read more ...

Three New Melville Plays at Arrowhead: The Melville Trilogy


"Melvilles & Morewoods"

by Sally Filkins


A new play based on the life and works of Herman Melville


"Melvilles & Morewoods" will be performed at Herman Melville's Arrowhead, 780 Holmes Road, Pittsfield, MA , Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings July 5th through July 21st at 7:30pm.

Tickets are $25 and include a pre-show reception at 7pm.


"Melville's Women"

by Sally Filkins


A new play based on the life and works of Herman Melville


"Melville's Women" will be performed at Herman Melville's Arrowhead, 780 Holmes Road, Pittsfield, MA on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from August 9th through September 2nd at 7:30 pm. Pre-performance reception at 7pm. Tickets for "Melville's Women" are $25. Due to limited seating capacity, reservations are recommended. For reservations and information, contact Betsy Sherman, Arrowhead, 413-442-1793, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., web site or Sally Filkins, "VOICES," 413-442-1928, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


"Melville, Haunted"


"Voices" Theatre Company, in collaboration with Berkshire Historical Society, will present a new historic Pittsfield play, "Melville, Haunted," during October at Arrowhead, Herman Melville's home and museum on Holmes Road in Pittsfield. "Melville, Haunted" is the first in a series of three original plays being developed by "VOICES" for production at Arrowhead during the next twelve months. "Melville, Haunted" will be followed by "Melvilles and Moorewoods" and "Melville's Women." "VOICES" is currently the resident theatre company at Arrowhead. During the 2011 Summer Season, "VOICES" collaborated with Berkshire Historical Society to produce "Shades of the Revolution" and "Sentimental Journey" for Pittsfield's 250th Anniversary.


"Melville, Haunted" opens on Thursday October 18th at 7:30 pm and plays Friday October 19, Saturday October 20, Thursday, October 25, Friday October 26th and Saturday October 27th. All performances are at 7:30 pm at Arrowhead, 780 Holmes Road in Pittsfield.


Read more ...

Moby-Dick - Inside the Belly of the Beast
Presented by Darkstuff Productions

Tuesday 3 April until Thursday 19 April 

Darkstuff Productions (‘One of our favourite Bristol companies’ - Venue Magazine)  bring the Bierkeller Theatre’s inaugural season to a close by transforming the venue’s interior into Captain Ahab’s ill-fated ship The Pequod as it sails towards the legendary white whale Moby Dick. 

The company once again work with acclaimed director Anna Girvan to produce a unique promenade re-telling of one of the great American novels.  With a live musical score from composer Rarg this promises to be an exhilarating and unmissable re-telling of Herman Melville’s classic tale of obsession and revenge.

The play follows Captain Ahab on his quest to track down and kill Moby Dick. In his single-minded pursuit he risks his life and also the lives of his disparate crew. Written by Simon Harvey – Williams & Phil John Directed by Anna Girvan Live musical score by Rarg

For further info please contact either

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 it.

Performance Run - Tuesday 3 April until Thursday 19 April (Tues 3rd – Thurs 5th April Sun 8th – Thurs 12th April Sun 15th – Thurs 19th April)
Doors open 7.30pm Show Starts 8.15pm

BOX OFFICE: 0117 930 4264

For more information, click here to visit the Bierkeller Theatre website.

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.