Herman Melville - J.O. Eaton Portrait - 1870 - by Permission of Harvard University
Portrait by Joseph Oriel Eaton, 1870, by permission of Houghton Library, Harvard University [*61Z-4]
(click to view 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.

New Bedford Whaling Museum


Mother and baby sperm whale

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 ( https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/evandahm/moby-dick-illustrated ).

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 http://mobydickillustrated.tumblr.com/

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. www.davidrothenberg.net

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. http://www.mobydickbigread.com/chapter-79-the-prairie/

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! https://www.facebook.com/events/1766227910302863/

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 melvilleATSYMBOLberkshirehistory.org, 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 http://tinyurl.com/hf5whsb

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 gmail.com (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 gmail.com
Molly Parent - mollyparent at gmail.com
Stephen Sparks - sparks at greenapplebooks.com

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 or on the Photo Albums menu link to view just the Tokyo photos,
without complete 
descriptions and identifications.

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

Brian Higgins - Melville Scholar - 1944 - 2015

Brian Higgins 1944 - 2015

Brian Higgins passed away on April 28, 2015. Brian had a long career in teaching and authored or co-authored important books and articles related to Melville's life and writings.

Follow the link to read more details in his obituary.


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: www.editricesapienza.it

Click the link below to download a PDF of the Sapienza University Press flyer.





BBC's The Whale: The Story of the Essex


The-Whale---BBCRobin Hood star Jonas Armstrong is starring in the new BBC drama, The Whale


The BBC is featuring a film presentation of the tragic story of the Essex. Titled The Whale, it dramatizes the "incredible tale of seafaring survival that inspired Moby-Dick."


Click here for more information: http://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/tv-radio/448051/BBC-s-Whale-Tale-that-inspired-Moby-Dick




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

Mark Milloff’s Melville - Art Exhibit


Drawings, Paintings, and Sculpture by Mark Milloff

September 22, 2013 – January 5, 2014

Lyman Allyn Art Museum - New London, CT


From the museum's website:

Milloff’s Melville features 25 years of Mark Milloff’s drawings, paintings, and sculpture inspired by Herman Melville’s epic novel Moby Dick.  A professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, Milloff has long been immersed in narratives of the sea. Growing up a stone’s throw from what he describes as “the murky canals and mangrove mudflats” of South Florida, Milloff developed an insatiable curiosity about creatures of the sea. That interest eventually provoked his obsession with Moby Dick, which became a potent resource for expressing his own state of mind, as well as plumbing the American imagination past and present. For more information visit the museum's website at http://www.lymanallyn.org/milloffs-melville/

Follow this link to a brief NPR interview with Mark Milloff:  http://wnpr.org/post/perils-sea-giant-pastels-capture-adventure-moby-dick

Battle-Pieces Song Cycle by Paul Phillips

Enjoy these performances of six songs from Paul Phillips' Civil War song cycle that are based on six poems published in Melville's "Battle-Pieces." Paul Phillips is Director of Orchestras and Chamber Music, Brown University, and Music Director and Conductor, Pioneer Valley Symphony & Chorus. The song cycle was premiered by baritone Andrew Garland with the Pioneer Valley Symphony under composer Paul Phillips' direction at John M. Greene Hall, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, on 16 October 2011. Music completed in 2011 and published by Barnard Street Music 2011©.

Premiere of Jake Heggie's Ahab Symphony

On April 24, 2013 the symphony and chorus of the University of North Texas gave the premiere of Jake Heggie's Ahab Symphony with Richard Croft singing the tenor part. The text of the symphony juxtaposes several lines from Ahab during the Third Day of the Chase (sung by the tenor) with the text of W. H. Auden's poem, "Herman Melville" (sung by the chorus).

Jake-Heggie-after-premiere-of-Ahab-SymphonyJake Heggie after the premiere of his Ahab Symphony
on April 24, 2013 with the symphony and chorus of
the University of North Texas

Immediately before the concert was the release book party for Dr. Robert Wallace's forthcoming book on Heggie's Moby-Dick opera: Heggie and Scheer's Moby-Dick: A Grand Opera for the Twenty-first Century.

Jake-Heggie-Karen-Almond-Robert-Wallace-Gene-Scheer-at-book-release-partyJake Heggie, Karen Almond, Robert Wallace, and Gene Scheer
at the book release party

Artist Matt Kish Visits Kentucky University

At the invitation of Professor Robert Wallace, artist Matt Kish visited Northern Kentucky University to spend time with Dr. Wallace's honors class and talk about how he has explored Moby-Dick through his art. Dr. Wallace has shared a link to Matt Kish's blog in which the artist recounts his day of sharing with  for students and faculty - including a "live drawing event" at which he produced original works of art in response to quotes from Moby-Dick. Click the image below to visit Matt Kish's "Every Page of Moby-Dick" blog.

Matt Kish - blog logo

A Moby Dick Card Game

Several Melville Society members have reported an interesting, new, Melville-inspired creative project: Moby Dick, or, the Card Game.

Click the following link to visit the Moby Dick, or, The Card Game Facebook page.

 Moby-Dick-the card game 1Moby-Dick-the card game

From the Galleries

Hancock Shaker Village 2
(click for slideshow)
Hancock Shaker Village 2

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.