The Eaton Portrait

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

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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.


Mother and baby sperm whale

Call for Book Proposals - University Press of New England

A Call for Book Proposals

From Richard King of the University Press of New England

The University Press of New England and the Williams College-Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program seek book proposals for our “Seafaring America” series.

We are looking for works in three categories:

1. Suggestions for timely reissues of forgotten, out-of-print American works of literary and cultural distinction, with new introductions that frame the work for a modern audience.
2. Proposals for anthologies and/or selected editions of writers’ work.
3. Proposals for books of original scholarship or of general interest, according to the series mission below.

We have particular interest in underrepresented voices and “blue” environmental studies.


“Seafaring America” is a series of original and classic works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama exploring the history of America’s engagement with our oceans and coastlines. Spanning diverse eras, populations, and geographical settings, the series strives to introduce, revive, and aggregate a wide range of exemplary and/or seminal stories about our American maritime heritage. This includes the accounts of First Peoples, explorers, voluntary and forced immigrants, women in maritime communities, fishermen, whalers, captains, common sailors, members of the navy and coast guard, marine biologists and oceanographers, and the crews of vessels ranging from lifeboats, riverboats, and tugboats to recreational yachts. “Seafaring America” introduces new stories of maritime interest and reprints books that have fallen out of circulation and deserve reappraisal. The series also publishes selections from well-known works that warrant reconsideration because of the lessons they offer about our relationship with our watery planet.

Jay Leyda Symposium, "A Curious Man: The Life and Work of Jay Leyda"

Jay Leyda Symposium
November 2, 3, and 4
Mount Holyoke College – Willits-Hallowell Center

JayLeyda Highlight

"A Curious Man: The Life and Work of Jay Leyda" will be held November 2, 3, and 4 on the campus of Mount Holyoke College at the Willits-Hallowell Center. Register by October 25 to ensure adequate seating for the symposium and lunch on Friday. Click the photo of Jay Leyda for more information.

A variety of lodging options — including hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts — are located within a short distance from campus.

Click link below at the end of this announcemnt to download the flyer. From the symposium flyer:

Leyda — a scholar, a translator, an artist, an archivist and a teacher — worked across the 20th century in a remarkable array of fields. He left his intellectual mark, in his characteristically understated way, on cinema, photography, music, painting and literature. This symposium brings together scholars from many aspects of Leyda’s life and work in order to spark conversation regarding his influence and legacy.

♿ Free and open to the public.

For more information, please contact Robin Blaetz (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


Thursday, November 2
8:00 p.m.
“Leyda and His Musical World,” a concert by the Mount Holyoke College Department of Music. It will present a variety of works associated with Leyda.
Pratt Hall

Friday, November 3
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Presentations throughout the day. Lunch available for all attendees.
Willits-Hallowell Center

Saturday, November 4
9:00 a.m.–noon
Morning presentations.
Willits-Hallowell Center

Symposium participants and topics of discussion:

Weihong Bao, University of California, Berkeley (Chinese cinema)
Christopher Benfey, Mount Holyoke College (Dickinson and Melville)
Nathaniel Brennan, doctoral candidate, New York University (Museum of Modern Art Film Library, Film Studies and the Popular Front)
Tom Gunning, University of Chicago (early cinema)
Michael Kunichika, Amherst College (Shub, Vertov, Pudovkin and Tarkovsky)
Charles Musser, Yale University (Steiner, Evans, Strand and “A Bronx Morning”)
Gerald O’Grady, the State University of New York at Buffalo, professor emeritus (Flaherty)
Ted Perry, Middlebury College, professor emeritus
Harlow Robinson, Northeastern University (Rachmaninoff, Mussorgsky and Hollywood)
Masha Salazkina, Concordia University (film education from VGIK to NYU)
David Stirk, Princeton University (end of the Cold War)
Holger Teschke
Alan Trachtenberg, Yale University, professor emeritus (“The Melville Log”)
Yuri Tsivian, University of Chicago (for Hannah Frank)
And more

Date 2017-10-13
File Size 298.69 KB
Download 70

First Melville Website in Denmark

The First Website in Denmark to be Devoted to Herman Melville

Professor Søren Frank
University of Southern Denmark

HM slider 1 1024x236Professor Søren Frank of the University of Southern Denmark has published the first website devoted to Melville in Denmark. Work on the webpage was initiated by Professor Frank in 2015 when he taught a class on Melville. All the students in his class contributed one way or the other to the webpage. Since then, three of the students and Professor Frank have continued to work on the site. The site was officially launched at a reception of the Comparative Literature Department at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU). Click here to visit the site.

NEH 2018 Summer Institute for Teachers at the New Bedford Whaling Museum

NEH Summer Institute for Teachers
The New Bedford Whaling Museum
Summer 2018

Application Deadline is March 1, 2018

Amount of stipend varies according to weeks of participation:
one week ($1,200), two weeks  ($2,100), three weeks ($2,700), or four weeks ($3,300).

Click the image below for application instructions.


Tim Marr has announced that the Melville Society Cultural Project's collaboration with the New Bedford Whaling Museum has been awarded funding for a NEH Summer Institute for School Teachers that will take place at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in Massachusetts from June 17-30, 2018.

You can use the links at the end of this article to download for distribution the flyer and full press release. Here are some excerpts from the press release: 

The New Bedford Whaling Museum, in association with Melville Society Cultural Project, has been awarded a $136,342 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The grant will fund a two-week Summer Institute for Teachers in 2018, which will illuminate the art and context of Herman Melville’s famous 19th century American novel Moby-Dick, and help teachers from across the country interpret the book for 21st century students.

Six nationally recognized scholars make up the Melville Society Cultural Project, aimed at sharing an understanding of Herman Melville’s writings, life, and times. They will serve as principal faculty of the Institute: Jennifer Baker, New York University; Mary K. Bercaw Edwards, University of Connecticut; Wyn Kelley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Chris Sten, George Washington University; Robert K. Wallace, Northern Kentucky University; and Timothy Marr, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, serving as the Institute Director.

“The Melville Society Cultural Project is delighted to partner with the Whaling Museum to bring teachers from around the country to New Bedford, the historical center of American whaling,” said Tim Marr, Director of the Summer Institute for Teachers. “From there we will journey forth together on Melville’s Pequod in quest of Moby-Dick, a text that swims on and is crucially relevant for understanding our human dilemmas in the 21st century.”

The Institute will be hosted at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. New Bedford, Massachusetts is a meaningful location for intensive study of Herman Melville’s masterpiece in the context of the whaling industry. Melville arrived in New Bedford on Christmas day 1840 and shipped nine days later on the Acushnet from Fairhaven across the harbor. Since 2000, the Whaling Museum has partnered with the Melville Society Cultural Project to offer scholarly programming, and the Museum is home to the Melville Society Archive, which constitutes one of the best collections of Melville scholarship anywhere in the world.

Click below for printable flyer.

Date 2018-01-21
File Size 320.71 KB
Download 30

Click below for press release.

Date 2017-08-16
File Size 192.02 KB
Download 169

Moby-Dick Marathons - August 2017

Moby-Dick Marathons - August 2017

Reports of Moby-Dick marathons are coming on line. Two newspapers reported on the marathon held at Seaport Villiage in Mystic, CT. Anna Sullivan of the Westerly Sun in Pawcatuck, Connecticut reports:

Participants join in a marathon reading of the classic Moby-Dick aboard the Charles W. Morgan at the Mystic Seaport on Monday, July 31, 2017. Readers will read the novel, by Herman Melville, for a straight 24 hours, expecting to finish up by noon on August 1st, which is the 198th anniversary of the author's birth.

You can view the Westerly Sun photos here. And Dana Jensen of The Day in New London, CT writes of a featured photo:

Participants listen while a fellow participant takes a turn reading aloud a chapter of "Moby-Dick" onboard the whaleship Charles W. Morgan during the 32nd annual "Moby-Dick" Marathon at Mystic Seaport, Monday, July 31, 2017. The marathon began at noon Monday with participants coming and going, taking an average of 24 hours to complete the book by author Herman Melville. Twenty-four participants have registered to spend the night aboard the whaleship to continue reading aloud overnight and finish around noon on Tuesday.

Photos published of the Mystic Seaport, CT marathon can be viewed here. And of course a Moby-Dick marathon was conducted at Melvillle's one-time home, the house and farm he named Arrowhead, in Pittsfield, MA. Below are two photos taken by at Jana Laiz the Arrowhead Moby-Dick marathon.

md marathon1 arrowhead 2017md marathon2 arrowhead 2017

Final Volume of the Writings of Herman Melville to be Published Fall 2017

 Publication of the Final Volume of the

Fifteen-Volume Writings of Herman Melville Series

As of today, October 29, 2017, the paperback edition of “Billy Budd, Sailorand Other Uncompleted Writings is available on the Northwestern University Press website. Click here to visit the NUP website. The publication of this volume completes the publishing project begun in the mid-1960s by the late Harrison Hayford. Scores of editors have been involved in the publication of the fifteen-volume series. This final volume (vol. 13) includes reading texts and new or corrected literal transcriptions of all the uncompleted prose and verse writings that Melville left in manuscript when he passed away on September 28, 1891. Work on this final volume has been ongoing for more than 35 years—celebrations are in order! Click here or the image below to visit the NUP website. You can also download a PDF of the listing page in the NUP Fall 2017 catalog using the download link below.

BBS and Other Uncompleted Writings-crpd


Moby-Dick Marathon - 2017

New Bedford Moby-Dick Marathon 2017
January 7 and 8
Lecture Friday, January 6

MDM-Logo-Circle 290w

New Bedford Whaling Museum
18 Johnny Cake Hill,
New Bedford, MA 02740

The 2017 dates for the Marathon are January 7-8 and the Marathon lecture is Friday, January 6.

Click the link for more information about the Marathon:

Lecture and Dinner

The lecture this year is a panel discussion entitled "Melville and Religion: Insights from the Melville Society"; it features Jennifer Baker, Mary K. Bercaw Edwards, Mike Dyer, Wyn Kelley, Timothy Marr, Christopher Sten, and Robert K. Wallace.

Click the link for information about the dinner and lecture:

New Illustrated Moby-Dick - Evan Dahm

New Illustrated Moby-Dick


Illustrator and cartoonist Evan Dahm has finished a large series of illustrations for Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, and is publishing an illustrated hardcover of the entire text, currently on Kickstarter ( ).

The illustrations are ink drawings in a style reminiscent of scrimshaw, and the text is typeset with careful reference to the first American edition of the book. For the past two years, Dahm has published his process online at

illo-ahab-300           illo-whale-300


Gallery exhibition based on Melville's Moby-Dick

"Open Attachments"

Gallery exhibition based on Melville's Moby-Dick

Haber-Heads or Tails

Beth Haber

recent work based on Melville's Moby-Dick

November 12 - December 4, 2016

Opening Reception / November 12 6-8 PM
Artist Talk / Thursday, November 17 7-8 PM
Closing Readings / December 4 3-5 PM

A solo gallery exhibition based on Melville's Moby-Dick: November 12 through December 4
culminating in readings and a concert of "whale music" by David Rothenberg


Concert of Whale Music
David Rothenberg at the Theo Ganz Studio

Beacon, NY December 4, 2016 at 5PM

David Rothenberg
Philosopher and musician David Rothenberg is the author of Why Birds Sing, published in eight languages. It was turned into a feature length BBC TV documentary. Rothenberg has also writtenThousand Mile Song, about making music live with whales, Survival of the Beautiful, on evolution and beauty, and Bug Music, on insects and their million-years old music. His music, recorded on ECM, Gruenrekorder, and the Terra Nova labels, usually involves an intergration with his clarinet improvisation with live and recorded natural sounds.. Rothenberg has sixteen CDs out under his own name. He is distinguished professor of philosophy and music at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Rothenberg was part of "Moby-Dick: The Big Read," where the entire text was performed by different characters and released online, including, Tilda Swinton, Stephen Fry, John Waters, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Mary Oliver. Rothenberg performed chapter 79, “The Prairie” and he’ll do it live in Beacon.

Woodlawn - Melville - Writer for the World


Livesteaming event on the Woodlawn Cemetary Facebook page:
Wednesday, September 28th at 2 PM


Dr. John Bryant, President of the Melville Society and Professor Emeritus of English at Hofstra University will be leading a collection of readings from Melville’s works featuring prominent authors, academics and musical artists. Visit The Woodlawn Cemetery Facebook page tomorrow at 2 PM.


Woodlawn - Writer for the World

Moby-Dick - Mini-Marathon October 14, 2016

Moby-Dick Mini-Marathon coming October 14, 2016.

The first in a series of nautical literary events from the "Captain's Salon" at the SF Maritime Research Center at Fort Mason. Food & drink by "Off the Grid!" Melville open-mic! Read your favorite passage from Moby-Dick or another Melville work! Short talks by neat people! Film! Surprises! Co-sponsored by Cal Maritime, The Melville Society, and the Friends of the SF Maritime Museum Library. Public Transit recommended!

M-D Mini Marath Marit Hist Park



Musical Concert - Moby-Dick: Toward the Sea

Toward the Sea - Concert
presented by Chamber Music NY

The Bruno Walter Auditorium
NY Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center
111 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10023

Saturday, October 22, 2016, 8 p.m.

"Musical works selected from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the anchor piece, Takemitsu's 'Toward the Sea', meditate on the themes of the sea, voyage and the rumination of the soul."

Mélanie Genin, harp, and Catherine Gregory, flute

CatherineGregory-300Mélanie Genin and Catherine Gregory


From the announcement: 

An immersive performance combining music, text, ambient sounds and visual art.

Flutist Catherine Gregory and harpist Mélanie Genin embark on an immersive journey exploring Herman Melville’s epic tale through music and literary extracts, while combining multimedia elements, visuals and ambient noise.

The performance is preceded by the ‘Pre-show’, inviting the audience to enter "Toward the Sea" in an interactive and immersive way leading seamlessly to the continuous performance from beginning to end, with the performers entwining passages of the book with the music.

Together, the music and text convey Melville’s philosophical impact, focusing on the character’s psyche and the metaphysical questions he alludes to in the novel.

For more information click here to read the announcement on the Chamber Music NY website.


Three Presentations on the Essex - June 2016

Three Presentations by David Dowling on the Essex

June 20 - Nantucket Whaling Museum
June 21 - Cape Cod Maritime Museum
June 23 - Falmouth Historical Society

NHA Essex


This June, David Dowling, a long time Melville Society Member, will be giving presentations on findings from his new book, Surviving the Essex: The Afterlife of America’s Most Storied Shipwreck.

The first, hosted by the Nantucket Historical Association, will take place on June 20 on Nantucket at the Whaling Museum. The second and third will be presented on Cape Cod: on June 21 at 5 p.m. at the Cape Cod Maritime Museum and on June 23 at 7 p.m. at the Falmouth Historical Society.

David Dowling has published in Leviathan and, in addition to ALA panels, has presented at the Society's panels at the Rome and Japan international conferences. His 2010 book, Chasing the White Whale, was reviewed in the Chronicle of Higher Education and on NPR.

Click here for more information on the Nantucket Historical Society Presentation.

Berkshire County Historicl Society's 54th Annual Meeting

Berkshire County Historical Society's 54th Annual Meeting
Pittsfield Country Club
Thursday, May 5, 2016


From the Bershire County Historical Society's announcement:

Join us at the Pittsfield Country Club for the Berkshire County Historical Society's 54th Annual Meeting - with poetry! Delicious food and drink in a beautiful setting.

It will be held Thursday, May 5. Cocktail hour at 5, dinner at 6, program at 7.

The Country Club was formerly a farm owned in the 19th century by the Melvill family (before the "e" was added to the name). Herman Melville visited his Uncle Thomas here as a boy, falling in love with the Berkshires. Here in 1850, Melville began writing "The Whale," which he finished at Arrowhead, re-titling it Moby-Dick.

After dinner and a brief business meeting, we will hear poetry from the new publication from Melville Press: Weeds and Wildings, chiefly: With a Rose or Two. Copies available at the meeting. But if you can't wait, copies may be purchased at the Arrowhead shop or ordered online from Melville Press.

It is a new comprehensive collection of Herman Melville's last poetry and short fiction – principally written during the final years of his life. It is Melville at his most romantic, sentimental and autobiographic; this book let him return in memory to his years at Arrowhead. It was a gift to his wife, Elizabeth Shaw Melville.

Other poetry, by actor/poet Steve Butler, and by writers working at an ongoing workshop at Arrowhead, will be also be featured.
The cost for the dinner at the Pittsfield Country Club is $35/person. Cash bar available. To make your reservations, e-mail, call 413.442.1793 x12, or mail a check to the Berkshire Historical Society, 780 Holmes Road, Pittsfield MA 01201

The image above is from a postcard in the collections of the Berkshire County Historical Society, early 20th century.

For more information visit

Two upcoming Moby-Dick Art Shows in Cincinnati



Two Moby-Dick Art Shows
Contemporary Arts Center
Marta Hewett Gallery
Cincinnati, OH
April 22 - August 14, 2016


Make plans to visit or let others know about these two upcoming, exciting Moby-Dick art shows: a two-man show, "Chasing the Whale, and Other Endless Pursuits," featuring the art of Matt Kish and Robert Del Tredici at the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, curated by Robert Wallace and Steven Matijcio, April 22 through August 14, 2016, and a nine-woman Moby-Dick art show, "Adrift in the Wonderworld: Women Make Meaning of Moby-Dick," at Cincinnati's Marta Hewett Gallery.

Official opening events are on the weekend of April 22 and 23, with other special events being planned. On the April 22 opening night of the Contemporary Arts Center exhibition, Kish and Del Tredici will be making a joint Moby-Dick drawing that will be projected onto the wall of the first-floor lobby, visible both inside and outside Zaya Hadid’s building.

After collaborating on the live drawing in the lobby on opening night, April 22, Kish and Del Tredici will be giving dual gallery talks in the Contemporary Arts Center exhibition space at 2 pm on Saturday, April 23. At 4 pm the same day, there will be the official opening and reception for the nine-woman Moby-Dick art show at the Marta Hewett Gallery. Marta is calling her show "Adrift in the Wonderworld: Women Make Meaning of Moby-Dick."

Visit the Moby-Dick in Cincinnati in 2016 blog to read an informative, behind-the-scenes article by co-curator Robert Wallace. In a richly illustrated blog essay, Professor Wallace describes events and activities of recent years related to his teaching about the life and writings of Herman Melville at Northern Kentucky University. It was during these years that he made many of the connections with the artists and institutions that are involved in these two Moby-Dick art exhibits.

For more information visit the Contemporary Arts Center and Marta Hewett Gallery websites.

JHUP Podcast on Melville's Marginalia Online

Johns Hopkins University Press Podcast on Melville's Marginalia Online


click image for full view of cover

Click here to listen to the September 29, 2015 John Hopkins University Press podcast of an informative, inspirational, and stimulating interview with Steven Olsen-Smith related to Melville's Marginalia Online and Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies.

Leviathan 17.2, which appeared in June 2015, includes a special section on erased marginalia, with articles by Melville's Marginalia Online staff members Dawn Coleman, Peter Norberg, Dennis C. Marnon, Steven Olsen-Smith, and Joshua Preminger on recovered annotations in Melville's copies of Dante's Commedia and John Milton's Poetical Works, and Elizabeth Melville's set of The Works of William E. Channing. Shortly after publication, the Johns Hopkins University Press interviewed Olsen-Smith about Herman Melville's reading practices, the online project's relationship to Leviathan, and the significance of marginalia and source study in Melville scholarship. A podcast of the interview is available at the JHUP web site through the above link.

San Francisco's 1st Marathon Reading of Moby-Dick - October 2015

 San Francisco's First Marathon Reading of Moby-Dick

The Firehouse at Fort Mason
October 24 and 25, 2015

SFMDM poster-sm 
click image for larger view

San Francisco will soon welcome Herman Melville back to the Barbary Coast with a marathon reading of Moby-Dick at the Firehouse at Fort Mason on October 24 and 25. The event will feature over 100 readers and performers who will bring the beloved classic to life, and will include food trucks, locally-brewed beer, and plenty of coffee to keep readers and listeners sustained throughout. The reading will begin at noon on Saturday October 24th, continuing through the night until roughly noon on Sunday the 25th, and is free for all to attend.

The event follows in the tradition of marathon readings of Moby-Dick that take place annually in Mystic Seaport, CTNew York City and New Bedford, MA. The organizing committee's goal is to make this reading a unique celebration in the spirit of San Francisco, with a festival atmosphere and readers of all stripes coming together to celebrate the classic novel. Organizations represented at the event will include Green Apple Books, the South End Rowing Club, 826 Valencia, Cal-Berkeley, Cal-Maritime, Stanford, and SFSU, with more groups from the Bay Area's literary and sea-faring communities joining the chorus of enthusiasm daily as we spread the word.

We are currently taking sign-ups for readers, who can choose to either read a favorite chapter or be assigned to one by time. The full schedule of readers, which will include several special guests and performances, will be released in early October. We are also partnering with Intersection for the Arts and GoFundMe to raise money to cover the space rental and permitting costs. For more information, please visit our website, Facebook page, or contact sfmobydickmarathon at (blocking spambots - replace at with @).

Our hope is that this will be the first annual Moby-Dick reading in San Francisco – the first of many to come in a city long-steeped in the traditions of literature, community, and setting out to sea and into the great unknown.

"Our first port is San Francisco...and thence, I hardly know where." — Herman Melville, 28 May 1860

Press contacts (blocking spambots - substitute @ for at):

Daniel Herman - sfmobydickmarathon at
Molly Parent - mollyparent at
Stephen Sparks - sparks at

Tokyo 2015 International Conference Photo Album

Photo Album Published

10th International Melville Conference

Tokyo - June 2015

Photographs by Naochika Takao and Dennis Berthold.

Click here to view the Melville Society's Flickr album to view the photos
with complete descriptions and identifications. 

Video Report: Moby-Dick Art - A 20 Year Exploration

A Video Report on the Recent Moby-Dick Arts Fest

Bob Wallace reports that the four-day, April 24-27, 2015, Arts Fest: Moby-Dick Art - A 20 Year Exploration - went very well. He has shared a link to a 22-minute video of highlights from the sequence of events which brought artists, students, and experts from around the country to Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, OH. Enjoy:

Robert C. Ryan - Melville Scholar - 1935-2015

Robert C. Ryan passed away at the age of 80 on April 15, 2015. Robert was a pioneer in working with Melville's manuscripts. His transcription and reading edition of Weeds and Wildings remain definitive texts. Robert was admired by his collegues and inspired more than one generation of students. He will be greatly missed. Below is a link to his obituary published in the Boston Globe on April 19. Look for an article on Robert's work and life in a forthcoming issue of Leviathan.

Facing Melville, Facing Italy - Sapienza University Press


Essays from the 8th International Melville Conference

Facing Melville, Facing Italy: Democracy, Politics, Translation

click image for a larger view

The University of Rome's Sapienza University Press recently published Facing Melville, Facing Italy: Democracy, Politics, Translation, edited by John Bryant, Giorgio Mariani, and Gordon Poole.  This volume is the first in an important series, Studies in American Literature and Culture, edited by Giorgio Mariani. This series is the first truly international American Studies series to emerge. The essays in Facing Melville, Facing Italy are a selection from the Melville Society’s 8th International Conference, held in Rome in June 2011.

Facing Melville, Facing Italy: Democracy, Politics, Translation can be ordered directly from the press website:


Peter Martin - Ahab's Dream Exhibit


 Ahab's Dream - Art Exhibit
Peter Martin - Artist
New Bedford Whaling Museum
January - June, 2014

thumb Peter-Martin-Ahab's-Dream Peter Martin with Ahab's Dream
click to enlarge

Peter Martin, whose art work is being added to the New Bedford Whaling Museum archive this year, will be exhibiting a show of Moby-Dick paper cuts at the Moby-Dick Marathon at the New Bedford Whaling Museum from January to June, 2014. Concerning this exhibit of large scale paper and fiber cuttings inspired by Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, Peter shares that he feels that it best represents his journey as an artist. See our Event Calendar for more details.

thumb Peter-Martin-Ahabs-Dream Melville the Man
click to enlarge


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Melville Society Facebook Posts

Greg Lennes American evangelical preacher Billy Graham died today. One biographer of Graham has compared him to Melville's Bill Budd. From Marshall Frady's biography - Billy Graham: A Parable of American Righteousness: "It’s as if his simple presence has the effect of a kind of blessing – leaves a mellowness afterward of a spontaneous, guileless, eager, fond absorption and regard. But more than that, one is left with a surprising sense in him of an ineffable utter innocence, as clear and blameless as the crystalline mountain morning. It prompts the stranger to turn and declare to the aide behind the wheel, “I have to tell you, I’ve never gotten off of anyone I’ve ever met such a feeling of natural goodness. What a wickedness it would be to ever visit mischief on a soul like that.” And then one realizes – he’s Billy Budd. Melville’s welkin-eyed Billy."
Greg Lennes Kimble Bromley, Professor of Art at North Dakota State University, will exhibit his Moby-Dick painting series at the Muscatine Art Center (Iowa) from February 15th through April 12th, 2018. 2018-02-19T15:41:59+0000
Greg Lennes Delavan-Darien School District in Delavan, Wisconsin sponsors "Moby Dick, the Musical" March 9th thru March 11th.
Greg Lennes Melville's short story, "The Lightning-Rod Man" (1854) still has lessons for us today. The lightning-rod salesman says that to buy his lighting rods, you will be safe. He is the salesman of our fears. He peddled his wares during storms with dire descriptions of ruin and death. He threatens and tries to bully the main character, who is angered. The ending is the main character "seized it (lightning-rod); I snapped it; I dashed it; I trod it; and dragging the dark lightning-king out of my door, flung his elbowed, copper sceptre after him. But spite of my treatment, and spite of my dissuasive talk of him to my neighbors, the Lightning-rod man still dwells in the land; still travels in storm-time, and drives a brave trade with the fears of man." Here is a video of a reading of the tale by Stacy Carson. It was produced by Sharad Patel and Lily Cox­‐Richard (2015):
"The Lightning-­Rod Man" by Herman Melville, 1854 "The Lightning-­Rod Man" by Herman Melville, 1854 Read by Stacy Carson Produced by Sharad Patel and Lily Cox­‐Richard
Greg Lennes
Diane Samuels: The Whale and Other Texts Diane Samuels: The Whale and Other Texts Diane Samuels: The Whale and Other Texts
Feb 7 - March 15, 2018
RECEPTION: Thursday, March 8, 6:00 - 9:00 pm; Artist Talk 7:30 pm

Exhibition at UMass Dartmouth University Art Gallery in Downtown New Bedford, “Diane Samuels: The Whale and Other Texts” is centered around the 8’ wide by 47’ long artwork Moby-Dick, or The Whale. This mesmerizing large scale piece appears to be floating on the gallery floor and spilling off the wall, reflecting on the ocean nearby, the location for the Melville’s famous novel.
Pittsburgh based Diane Samuels who often uses text as a element in her visual vocabulary this time creates waves with her meticulous hand-transcriptions created using all of the 701 pages in the novel. Remnants of archival paper and drawings have been recycled and painted over and, in places, drawn and collaged using images that pertain to the specific text. Each page of the book (also exhibited at the gallery) is hand-written as a horizontal row of the drawing, starting with “Call me Ishmael” at the top of the artwork.

Samuels chose Moby-Dick, or The Whale because of Melville’s descriptions of confrontations with “the other” and his archiving and cataloguing of information about whales and the world. In Chapter Three, Ishmael and Queequeg share a room and a bed at the Spouter-Inn. Ishmael describes his terror in meeting Queequeg. Despite cultural, racial, and language differences, the chapter ends with Ishmael’s statement, “I turned in, and never slept better in my life.”

Accompanying this installation is the compressed sound of the artist reading out loud and hand-transcribing each page, creating a layered “audio block”; a dense sound comprised of words and pages, along with the ambient sounds of the artist’s studio. The audio block is the length of the longest page of the book.

Other artworks also surprise visitors with their intricate hand-transcription in microscript. The Arabian Nights traces the stories told by Scheherazade over 10,000 fragments of papers painted in shades of indigo and crimson and edged in gold. The piece is a literal and figurative “magic carpet” whose central panel is bathed in the blood of the book’s unfortunate heroines and cloaked in the mysterious glow of night.
Salman Rushdie’s “Midnight’s Children,” also visually reflects the content of the book, creating a unique composition made from 1001 pieces of paper made in India and joined to form a map of India on August 15, 1947, its date of independence. The “midnight’s children” of the book’s title are the 1001 children born in the first hour of Indian independence.

The exhibition is open through March 15, 2018, with the reception on Thursday, March 8, 6:00 - 9:00 pm. The artist talk, as well as audio recording will begin at 7:30 pm.
The Whale and Other Text was curated by Viera Levitt, UMass Dartmouth Gallery Director, born in Slovakia, where she had assisted Diane in her 1998 sound based site-specific installation for the Synagogue - Centre for Contemporary Art in Trnava.

Thanks to Kris Nuzzi and the Pavel Zoubok Gallery for their wonderful collaboration on this exhibition.

Diane Samuels is a visual artist, with studio and public art practices based in Pittsburgh. In both she uses other peoples’ words and handwriting as her literal and figurative raw material. She builds works that accrete from community engagements, layer by layer: layers made of words from interviews and informal conversations with people on the street, in cafes, in their homes; layers made of places from castings, drawings, photographs, audio, maps; and layers made from archival documents, narratives of events, histories, memoirs, folk tales, and literature. She has made drawings by writing out the texts of entire novels in micro-handwriting, converted a two-story glass pedestrian bridge into an anthology of phrases about looking at the world closely, and created artist’s books from sessions transcribing storytellers.
Diane's permanent site-specific artworks include Luminous Manuscript (Center for Jewish History New York) and Lines of Sight (Brown University). Luminous Manuscript was awarded an IFRAA/Faith & Form Award for Religious Art and Architecture in 2005 and is included in Judith Dupré’s 2007 (Random House) book, Monuments: America’s History in Art and Memory.
Her exhibitions include the Andy Warhol Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Mattress Factory Museum, the Leo Baeck Institute, the Center for Book Arts, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the Contemporary Arts Center of Cincinnati, the Municipal Museum of Art (Gyor, Hungary), the Synagogue Center (Trnava, Slovakia), the Bernheimer Realschule (Buttenhausen, Germany), and the Czech Museum of Fine Arts.
Diane's work is in public and private collections including the Carnegie Museum of Art, Bank of New York Mellon, Reed College, Municipal Museum of Art (Gyor, Hungary), the Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry.
Samuels holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in fine arts from Carnegie Mellon University, a diploma from the Institute in Arts Administration at Harvard University and has received honorary doctorates from Seton Hill University and Chatham University. She is also co-founder of City of Asylum Pittsburgh, which provides sanctuary to writers in exile. Samuels is a former board member of the Carnegie Museum of Art and the National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education, and is a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania. In 2013 she was recipient of a Rockefeller Bellagio Residency in Italy and an American Academy in Jerusalem Fellowship.
Diane Samuels works with the Pavel Zoubok Gallery in New York City.

Image: Moby Dick, Or The Whale, Herman Melville, 2015
Ink on handmade paper, 96 x 564 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Pavel Zoubok Gallery. Photo by Thomas Little

University Art Gallery
College of Visual and Performing Arts
UMass Dartmouth, 715 Purchase Street, New Bedford, MA 02740
Contact: Viera Levitt, Gallery Director and Exhibition Curator,
Gallery Hours: 9 am - 6 pm daily, closed on major holidays.
Open until 9 pm during AHA! Nights (the second Thursday of every month).
Greg Lennes From Rhode Island Public Radio: "One Square Mile: Walk A Mile In Ishmael's New Bedford" by John Bender:
One Square Mile: Walk A Mile In Ishmael's New Bedford New Bedford is the destination for devotees of one famous literary leviathan -- Herman Melville's "Moby-Dick."
Greg Lennes From Aeon: Melville and Financial World by Matt Seybold.
Herman Melville "Confidence is the indispensable basis of all sorts of business transactions. Without it, commerce between man and man, as between country and country, would, like a watch, run down and stop."
—from "The Confidence-Man" by Herman Melville

via Aeon
Meredith Farmer We're happy to announce the first CFP for our MLA panels at MLA 2019! CFP: 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. Please send 250-word abstracts and brief bios to Rodrigo Lazo at by March 13.
Greg Lennes Melvillean Philosophy (Humor): "There are unknown worlds of knowledge in brutes; and whenever you mark a horse, or a dog, with a peculiarly mild, calm, deep-seated eye, be sure he is an Aristotle or a Kant, tranquilly speculating upon the mysteries in man. No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses." Redburn. His First Voyage - Chapter XL. :) 2018-02-16T21:00:37+0000
Robert Sandberg MLA Conference - 2019 - Chicago: The Melville Society's "Call for Papers" is now available on the Melville Society website
The Melville Society - Call for Papers: MLA 2019 - Reading The Confidence-Man Today & Melville’s Quarrel with Modernity A society dedicated to the study and appreciation of the nineteenth-century American author Herman Melville
Greg Lennes "Moby Dick Deckle Edges Spotlight Tour "(March 16th) - Frank Stella Artwork - discussion led by Robert K. Wallace at Pizzuti Collection in Columbus, Ohio:
Moby Dick Deckle Edges Spotlight Tour Join us on March 16 for a spotlight tour with Professor Robert K. Wallace. Robert will discuss the Moby Dick Deckle Edges prints in the context of other works by Stella on view in the Lines/Edges: Frank Stella On Paper exhibition.
Eileen Valentino Flaxman When I joined The Melville Society FB page last August, you were just breaking a thousand followers. And now you're about to break 2,000. Congratulations! Here is my latest contribution from my project to write a poem for every chapter in Moby-Dick. (Lines from the text are in quotations.) Chapter 59 - Squid. -- Plenty of action and violence takes place in this novel. But there are also days of calm . . . floating on a glassy sea without swells or even the promise of a leviathan and with no chatter from a listless crew . . . A 'profound hush' surrounds the Pequod as it drifts in the middle of nowhere, with 'a stillness almost preternatural spread over the sea'. At such a time, what goes on inside a sailor's mind? Thoughts of home? Other ways to earn a living? Ennui? As a man looks out over endless nothingness, do thoughts churn busily inside his skull . . . or is Ismael an Anomaly?
Meredith Farmer We're happy to announce the second CFP for our MLA panels at MLA 2019! CFP: MELVILLE'S QUARREL WITH MODERNITY In anticipation of an energized year in Melville studies (when on the 200th anniversary of his birth we consider Melville’s significance in the present moment) contributors to this panel will reflect on a vital but largely unexplored feature of Melville’s thinking: his quarrel with modernity. Melville is not recognized for the clarity of his philosophical arguments. At best, his philosophizing is dismissed as ingenious but muddled. But perhaps Melville’s philosophical arguments have been hard to grasp because they have been miscategorized; they have been taken to embody the ethos of the distinctively modern world (that is, after the defining work of Descartes and Locke) when in fact what they offer is nothing less than a wide-ranging rejection of modernity’s dominant assumptions. On this panel, accordingly, we will use Melville’s writing to turn a harsh light on some of the beliefs that characterize modern Western thought. Melville’s writing has meant many things to many people, but as yet it has not been seen as a way to unite or bring into conversation the growing number of theorists resisting the modernity narrative—theorists making an effort to knock down the edifice of dualism, think carefully about where the nature-culture binary has come from (and what we might imagine in its place), cast doubt on the view that the body is inessential to mind, and in other ways question the account of the world offered by the moderns. Please send 300-500 words and a vita to K.L. Evans at by March 19.
Chad Beck Moby-Dick is discussed at 39:00. Also relevant (and leading directly into M-D) is a discussion about Job (31:23).
Russell Brand & Jordan Peterson - Kindness VS Power | Under The Skin #46 Recently making the headlines after a combative interview about the gender pay gap with Channel 4’s Cathy Newman, my guest today is Jordan Peterson, who disc...
Greg Lennes Melvillean Humor for Valentine's Day - Melville's First Draft of Moby-Dick: Comic strip by Mikey Heller (2014) :) 2018-02-14T17:59:34+0000
Greg Lennes Moby-Dick stars on Antiques Roadshow on PBS TV (2/12/18) video - Appraisal of Moby-Dick edition illustrated by Rockwell Kent and published by Lakeside Press 1930.
Appraisal: 1930 Rockwell Kent-Illustrated "Moby Dick" Set | Antiques Roadshow | PBS Appraisal: 1930 Rockwell Kent-Illustrated "Moby Dick" Set in New Orleans, LA.
Greg Lennes The final volume of the Northwestern-Newberry THE WRITINGS OF HERMAN MELVILLE--LAST OF 15 VOLUMES in hardback - a major literary accomplishment. 2018-02-14T14:20:22+0000
Greg Lennes REMINDER: March 1st deadline for registration for the two-week program called “Teaching Melville” that will take place this summer in New Bedford. The Whaling Museum will host the event which will take place from June 17th through the 30th. Go to website for details.
Teaching Melville An Institute for School Teachers on Herman Melville’s "Moby-Dick" and the World of Whaling in the Digital Age
Karen Lentz Madison Melvilleans!


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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click to start slideshow

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.