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.

Hennig Cohen Prize Award Winners

The Cohen Prize honors the memory of Hennig Cohen with an annual award for the best article, book chapter, or essay in a book about Herman Melville. The award is typically made in the year after the article or chapter is published.  Preference is given to newer scholars in the field of Melville studies.

Cohen Award Winners
(scroll down for essay titles and summaries)

(the year listed is the year in which the winning article was published; the award is given in the following year)

Matthew Knip, 2016

Paul Hurh, 2015

John Cyril Barton, 2014

Jennifer Greiman, 2013

Christopher Freeburg, 2012

Dominic Mastroianni, 2011

Cody Marrs, 2010

Jeannine Marie DeLombard, 2009

Hester Blum, 2008

Matthew Cordova Frankel, 2007

Jeffory A. Clymer, 2006

Geoffrey Sanborn, 2005

Naomi C. Reed, 2004

Ralph Savarese, 2003

Robin Grey, 2002

Caleb Crain, 2001

Maurice S. Lee, 2000

Sam Otter, 1999

Geoffrey Sanborn, 1998


1998: Geoffrey Sanborn, "Walking Shadows: 'Benito Cereno' and the Colonial Stage," The Sign of the Cannibal: Melville and the Making of a Postcolonial Reader (Durham: Duke University Press, 1998): 171-200.

1999: Samuel Otter, "Inscribed Hearts in Pierre," Melville's Anatomies (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999): 208-54. American Literature, 72:3 (2000): 495-519.

2001: Caleb Crain, "The Heart Ruled Out: Melville's Palinode," American Sympathy: Men, Friendship, and Literature in the New Nation (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001): 238-70.

2002: Robin Grey, "Annotations on Civil War: Melville's Battle-Pieces and Milton's War in Heaven," Special Issue on Melville and Milton, ed. Robin Grey, Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies, 4:1-2 (2002): 51-70.

2003: Ralph James Savarese, "Nervous Wrecks and Ginger-nuts: Bartleby at a Standstill," Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies, 5:2 (2003): 19-49.

2005: Geoffrey Sanborn, “Whence Come You, Queequeg?” American Literature, 77 (2005): 227-57.

2006: Jeffory A. Clymer: "Property and Selfhood in Herman Melville's Pierre," Nineteenth-Century Literature, 61.2 (September 2006): 171-99.

2007: Matthew Cordova Frankel: "Tattoo Art: The Composition of Text, Voice and Race in Melville's Moby-Dick," ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance, 53.2 (2007), 114-47.

The award committee found Frankel's article to be a substantive, energetic work that opens up new possibilities for future criticism of a major work. It takes a concern of early Melville criticsÑvitalityÑand offers a trenchant reconsideration by putting Matthiessen in conversation with Deleuze, thus countering the former's knee-jerk dismissal by contemporary scholars as theoretically naive. Noting the essay's magesterial command of its material, the committee was particularly impressed by how it manages to orchestrate multiple arguments in a comprehensive, almost concentrically developing, way and, at the same time, to offer elaborate close readings, all the while avowing an approach that makes aesthetics useful, attractive again, and tractable. By tying aesthetics to ideological critique (the essay's attention to race), the author nicely deconstructs the binary that gives rise to the notion of an "aesthetic turn," one intended as a corrective to the purported excesses of political approaches to literature. The committee was delighted to encounter an essay that evinces such dynamism and extends its congratulations to Matthew Cordova Frankel of the University of Rhode Island.

2008: Hester Blum: "Douglass's and Melville's 'Alphabets of the Blind,'" Frederick Douglass and Herman Melville: Essays in Relation, ed. Robert S. Levine and Samuel Otter (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008): 257-78.

The Cohen Prize committee for 2008 unanimously agreed that the best essay or chapter of the year was Hester Blum’s “Douglass’s and Melville’s ‘Alphabets of the Blind,’” in Frederick Douglass and Herman Melville: Essays in Relation, ed. Robert S. Levine and Samuel Otter (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008): 257-78. By setting Douglass’s elisions of rape in his 1845 Narrative alongside Melville’s similar elisions in the Hunilla chapter of “The Encantadas,” Blum makes it possible to register, in each case, the cost of “the euphemization of acts of violence.” She goes on to argue, however, that both Douglass and Melville are “attentive to and angry with” such euphemizations. Just as Douglass ultimately condemns “southerners’ fraudulent manipulation of language,” she writes, so does Melville “[chafe] under the idea that the narrative text must be mutilated in order to produce true or full accounts.” It is a lucid, subtle, and forceful argument, and it makes an original contribution to an important subject of inquiry in the scholarship on Douglass and Melville.

2009: Jeannine Marie Lombard: "Salvaging Legal Personhood: Melville's Benito Cereno," American Literature, 81.1 (March 2009): 35Ð64.

Lombard's essay is remarkably fresh and acute in its exploration of the legal dimensions of "Benito Cereno." At its center is a simple, alarming question: "when does the dependent, irresponsible captive metamorphose into the independent, autonomous legal person?"  Although we might imagine that the ordinary modes of "civil agency," such as "contract making and testimony," would be sufficient, nothing could be farther from the truth. As DeLombard shows, the inescapable narrative dimension of those modes of agency "break[s] down the subject," insofar as the legitimating narrative is necessarily grounded in a past moment when the subject was not a subject at all. Even if newly freed people do not involve themselves in those modes of public identification, they can never feel entirely free, DeLombard argues, given that "the human faculty of memory refuses to limit itself to officially designated temporal distinctions between captivity and autonomy." Viewed in this light, the overshadowed Benito Cereno of the story's final paragraphs is by no means an idiosyncratic figure. He is, instead, a representative image of all recently liberated subjects. This is an essay that will make us all think differently about "Benito Cereno" and enhance our understanding of the meanings of slavery, property, and "personhood" in the nineteenth century.

2010: Cody Marrs: "A Wayward Art: Battle-Pieces and Melville's Poetic Turn," American Literature (March 2010).

Marrs's essay offers a brilliant and ambitious rethinking of Melville's career as a poet and the sudden, puzzling shift from the writing of prose narrative to poetry as a result of the author's experience of the American Civil War.  Contrary to several earlier assessments, Marrs's essay argues that this "turn" marks not a retreat from the world or from Melville's recent failures in the marketplace, but a profound realignment of his political and artistic thinking.  In Marrs's reading, the Civil War reshaped Melville's career even as it suggested a new and horrifying sense of history as a relentlessly cyclical forceÑan "extended tragic repetition" or series of related destructions with a "traumatic kernel" at its core.  The poems in Battle-Pieces, in this searching, multi-layered reassessment, provide more than an extensive collection of meditations on the events of the war and the larger conflict itself; they stand as an "immanent account" of Melville's own experience of the Civil War as an historical event and of his transformation as a poet.  The members of the Cohen Prize committee believe this is an essay that will challenge readers to rethink the reasons for Melville's embrace of poetry as his chosen medium and also help to repair the strange neglect of Civil War literature in Americanist work more generally. 

2011: Dominic Mastroianni: "Revolutionary Time and the Future of Democracy in Melville's Pierre," ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance, 56.4 (2011): 391-423.

Mastroianni's essay is a provocative, brilliantly managed reading of Melville's novel as a political allegory concerned with the nature of revolution and the question of "whether a permanent democracy can result from revolution."  In this extraordinarily original, illuminating essay, Mastroianni reveals Melville to be engaged in a heady and sophisticated exploration of "the time of revolutionary foundation," one where democracy is shown to require "a structural impermanence driven by a call for social and economic equality" that goes beyond the calls for fraternity in the French Revolution of 1848 to include a call for sisterhood and equality for women.  The members of the Cohen Prize committee believe this is an essay that will challenge readers not only to rethink the political dimensions of Melville's novel but to move politics to the center of the author's concerns in this narrative.

2012: Christopher Freeburg: “Embodying the ‘Assaults of Time’: ‘The Encantadas,’” Melville and the Idea of Blackness (Cambridge University Press, 2012): 132-164.

The Cohen Prize committee for 2012 unanimously agreed that the best chapter or essay of the year was Christopher Freeburg’s “Embodying the ‘Assaults of Time’: ‘The Encantadas,’” chapter four of his monograph in Melville and the Idea of Blackness (Cambridge University Press).  Freeburg finds in Melville’s descriptions of the Galapagos a rhetoric of “blackness” that “destabilizes normative modes of time and social life” associated with U.S. colonial expansion in the Pacific.  The timeless, barren landscapes in Melville’s sketches confound the idea of progress central to U.S. imperial ambitions, figuring such ambitions as ultimately unproductive and rightly abandoned. This sociopolitical context is conjoined with an existential context as well: the fate of characters like Hunilla, the Dog-King, and Oberlus forces readers to confront “the overwhelming vulnerability” caused by the experience of timelessness associated with the islands' blackness.  When the metaphors of blackness in “The Encantadas” are read in this doubled sense, “colonial mastery, rooted in a telos of temporal progress, becomes an utter fiction.”  Freeburg’s insistence that Melville’s representations of race are both historically concrete and philosophically abstract (bearing on questions of ontology and epistemology) makes the book crucial for thinking about how Melville’s writings address the complex relation between literature and history.

2013: Jennifer Greiman: “Circles upon Circles: Tautology, Form, and the Shape of Democracy in Tocqueville and Melville,” J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists 1.1 (Spring 2013): 121-146.

2014: John Cyril Barton: "Melville, MacKenzie, and Military Executions," Literary Executions: Capital Punishment and American Culture, 1820-1925 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014).

The Cohen Prize committee unanimously agreed that John Cyril Barton's "Melville, MacKenzie, and Military Executions"—from his book Literary Executions: Capital Punishment and American Culture, 1820-1925 (Johns Hopkins UP, 2014)—was the best essay or chapter in Melville studies. Barton masterfully elucidates Melville's sustained interest in executions and the broader questions they pose regarding justice, sovereignty, and storytelling. Moving from White-Jacket to Billy Budd, Barton shows how the Somers mutiny, and the accompanying debates about capital punishment, formed a touchstone for Melville's career. The chapter enlists an eclectic range of historical materials, putting Melville into conversation with Alexander Slidell MacKenzie, Horace Greeley's New York Tribune, and other legal documents and pieces of nineteenth-century print culture. In doing so, the chapter reveals the cultural dialogues out of which Melville's writings emerged and with which he was so imaginatively and philosophically engaged. The argument around which the chapter revolves—that differences between White-Jacket and Billy Budd can be traced to a "changed notion of sovereign authority behind the law that came with the Civil War and the emergence of the Republican Party"—will alter how scholars think about Melville's career and his response to the Civil War. The chapter's graceful fusion of a legal approach to literature with an attentiveness to print culture and theoretical considerations regarding death and execution offers a promising model for future work in Melville studies.

2015: Paul Hurh: "Dread: Space, Time, and Automata in The Piazza Tales," American Terror: The Feeling of Thinking in Edwards, Poe, and Melville (Stanford University Press, 2015).

This year's Hennig Cohen Prize for the best article, book chapter, or essay on Herman Melville goes to Paul Hurh for "Dread: Space, Time, and Automata in The Piazza Tales," a chapter in his book American Terror: The Feeling of Thinking in Edwards, Poe, and Melville (Stanford University Press, 2015). Hurh offers a powerful argument for reading The Piazza Tales as a work in its own right, while showing the importance of terror to Melville's conceptions of affective and intellectual experience. Carefully attending to the "motley nature" of The Piazza Tales, Hurh proposes a "unified reading" that reveals a book intensely concerned with moods, "deep undercurrents of melancholy, anxiety, and unease," that he describes as forms of terror. Hurh links Melville's terror to a concept of dread (Angest) developed by Kierkegaard to account for human freedom, and transformed in Heidegger's examination of the spatial and temporal nature of existence. Like the philosophers, Melville provides "affective descriptions of philosophical dilemmas." More particularly, Hurh shows, Melville's practices of "spatial deformation and temporal miscalibration" produce a startling "understanding of time and space as a function of terror." Hurh's chapter illuminates subtle connections among the tales of The Piazza Tales, while offering extended, revelatory readings of the relatively neglected "The Lightning-Rod Man" and "The Bell-Tower." Hurh reads Melville's book with an extraordinary balance of philosophical sophistication, historical acuity, and unabashed devotion to the "strange particulars" of Melville's writing. This chapter promises to change the way The Piazza Tales is read, while challenging readers to reconsider Melville's thinking about materiality, subjectivity, interpersonal relations, and philosophy.

2016: Matthew Knip: “Homosocial Desire and Erotic Communitas in Melville’s Imaginary: The Evidence of Van Buskirk,” ESQ: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture 62.2 (2016): 355-414.

This year’s Hennig Cohen Prize for the best essay or chapter on Herman Melville goes to Matthew Knip for his essay “Homosocial Desire and Erotic Communitas in Melville’s Imaginary: The Evidence of Van Buskirk.” Knip reconsiders Melville’s conceptions of desire and community on the basis of a study of the diaries of Philip C. Van Buskirk, an American sailor whose writings extensively describe the sexual practices of working-class sailors in the 1850s. Through incisive readings of Typee, White-Jacket, Billy Budd, and "John Marr," Knip critiques accounts of Melville that rely on “anachronistically heterosexualized sailors,” or present homoerotic desire as either repressed or expressed only privately. Knip argues that Melville’s portrayals of homosocial desire “as a binding paradisiacal glue” are rooted not only in his powerful imagination, but also and crucially in his inhabitation of seafaring communities in which social masturbation and sex between men were often accepted as matters of course that did not constitute sexual identity. Knip’s essay is an outstanding work of cultural history and a compelling contribution to our understanding of Melville’s social thought.

Additionally, the committee decided to award an Honorable Mention to Kelly Ross for “Babo’s Heterochronic Creativity” published in Leviathan 18.1 (March 2016): 5-21.



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Melville Society Facebook Posts

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 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 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!
Robert Sandberg 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.
UPNE | Seafaring America Series Editor: Richard J. King, Williams College-Mystic SeaportSeafaring America is a series of original and classic works of nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and drama exploring the history of America’s engagement with our oceans and coastlines. Spanning diverse eras, perspectives, and geographical s...
Greg Lennes To the wealthy Melvillean: Auction for a first edition of Moby-Dick ending March 7th. 2018-02-13T19:36:41+0000


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.


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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.