Contextualizes Herman Melville’s short fiction and poetry by studying it in the company of the more familiar fiction of the 1850s era
The study focuses on Melville’s vision of the purpose and function of language from Moby-Dick through Billy Budd with a special emphasis on how language—in function and form—follows and depends on the function and form of the body, how Melville’s attitude toward words echoes his attitude toward fish. Davis begins by locating and describing the fundamental dialectic formulated in Moby-Dick in the characters of Ahab and Ishmael. This dialectic produces two visions of bodily reality and two corresponding visions of language: Ahab’s, in which language is both weapon and substitute body, and Ishmael’s, in which language is an extension of the body—a medium of explanation, conversation, and play. These two forms of language provide a key to understanding the difficult relationships and formal changes in Melville’s writings after Moby-Dick.
By following each work’s attitude toward the dialectic, we can see the contours of the later career more clearly and so begin a movement away from weakly contextualized readings of individual novels and short stories to a more complete consideration of Melville’s career. Since the rediscovery of Herman Melville in the early decades of this century, criticism has been limited to the prose in general and to a few major works in particular.
Those who have given significant attention to the short fiction and poetry have done so frequently out of context, that is, in multi-author works devoted exclusively to these genres. The result has been a criticism with large gaps, most especially for works from Melville’s later career. The relative lack of interest in the poetry has left us with little understanding of how Melville’s later voices developed, of how the novels evolved into tales, the tales into poetry, and the poetry back into prose. In short, the development of Melville’s art during the final three decades of his life remains a subject of which we have been afforded only glimpses, rarely a continuous attention. After the Whale provides a new, more comprehensive understanding of Melville’s growth as a writer.
Named a Best Book of the Year by three major newspapers upon its initial publication, and now available for the first time in paperback, Eye of the Whale offers an exhilarating blend of adventure and natural history as Dick Russell follows the migration of the gray whale from Mexico's Baja peninsula to the Arctic's Bering Strait.
Originally named "Devil-fish' by nineteenth-century whalers, the gray whale's friendly overtures toward humans over the past generation helped to spark the growth of today's whale-watching industry. This majestic marine mammal has also become a focus of controversy, as environmentalists fought to protect its breeding area from industrial development, some protested renewed hunting by a Native American tribe, and, more recently, scientific studies have noted a new decline in the whale's population.
Russell's narrative interweaves the remarkable story of Charles Melville Scammon, a nineteenth-century whaling captain responsible for bringing gray whales to the brink of extinction, whose change of heart led to his becoming a renowned naturalist. Retracing Scammon's path, the author encounters contemporary marine biologists who have devoted their lives to studying the gray whale, and native peoples for whom subsistence whale hunting means survival in the most remote regions of the North Pacific.
Called "an extraordinary book" by The Washington Post, Eye of the Whale is a stirring account of a creature that is changing our consciousness about the relationship between human beings and the animal kingdom.
Lucchesi and The Whale
Frank Lentricchia Duke University Press, 2001 Library of Congress PS3562.E4937L83 2001 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Lucchesi and The Whale is an unusual work of fiction by noted author and critic Frank Lentricchia. Its central character, Thomas Lucchesi Jr., is a college professor in the American heartland whose obsessions and compulsions include traveling to visit friends in their last moments of life—because grief alone inspires him to write—and searching for secret meaning in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. Himself a writer of “stories full of violence in a poetic style,” Lucchesi tells his students that he teaches “only because [his] fiction is commercially untouchable” and to “never forget that.” Austerely isolated, anxiety-ridden, and relentlessly self-involved, Lucchesi nonetheless cannot completely squelch his eagerness for love. Having become “a mad Ahab of reading,” who is driven to dissect the “artificial body of Melville’s behemothian book” to grasp its truth, Lucchesi allows his thoughts to wander and loop from theory to dream to reality to questionable memory. But his black humor-tinged musings are often as profoundly moving as they are intellectual, such as the section in which he ponders the life and philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein in relation to the significance of a name—and then attempts to share these thoughts with a sexy, middle-aged flight attendant—or another in which he describes a chance meeting with a similarly-named mafia don. Despite apparent spiritual emptiness, Lucchesi in the end does find “a secret meaning” to Moby-Dick. And Lentricchia’s creations—both Lucchesi and The Whale and its main character—reveal this meaning through a series of ingeniously self-reflective metaphors, in much the way that Melville himself did in and through Moby-Dick. Vivid, humorous, and of unparalleled originality, this new work from Frank Lentricchia will inspire and console all who love and ponder both great literature and those who would write it.
In Moby Dick Melville set out to write a "mighty book" on "a mighty theme." The editors of this critical text affirm that he succeeded. Nevertheless, their prolonged examination of the novel reveals textual flaws and anomalies that help to explain Melville's fears that his great work was in some ways a hash or a botch. A lengthy historical note also gives a fresh account of Melville's earlier literary career and his working conditions as he wrote; it also analyzes the book's contemporary reception and outlines how it finally achieved fame. Other sections review theories of the book's genesis, detail the circumstances of its publication, and present documents closely relating to the story.
This scholarly edition is based on collations of both editions published during Melville's lifetime, it adopts 185 revisions and corrections from the English edition and incorporates 237 emendations by the series editors. This is an Approved Text of the Center for Editions of American Authors (Modern Language Association of America).
This edition of Moby-Dick, released in honor of the book's sesquicentennial, is the authoritative text of one of the world's great adventure stories. A crew of whalers sets out in pursuit of a fierce white whale. Their names ring through the canon of American literature: Ishmael, the narrator; Queequeg, a South Seas harpooner; Starbuck, the sober and serious chief mate; and above all Captain Ahab, part-Faust and part-Job, obsessed with the destruction of his foe.
This text of Moby-Dick is an Approved Text of the Center for Scholarly Editions (Modern Language Association of America).
From the Bible’s “Canst thou raise leviathan with a hook?” to Captain Ahab’s “From Hell’s heart I stab at thee!,” from the trials of Job to the legends of Sinbad, whales have breached in the human imagination as looming figures of terror, power, confusion, and mystery.
In the twentieth century, however, our understanding of and relationship to these superlatives of creation underwent some astonishing changes, and with The Sounding of the Whale, D. Graham Burnett tells the fascinating story of the transformation of cetaceans from grotesque monsters, useful only as wallowing kegs of fat and fertilizer, to playful friends of humanity, bellwethers of environmental devastation, and, finally, totems of the counterculture in the Age of Aquarius. When Burnett opens his story, ignorance reigns: even Nature was misclassifying whales at the turn of the century, and the only biological study of the species was happening in gruesome Arctic slaughterhouses. But in the aftermath of World War I, an international effort to bring rational regulations to the whaling industry led to an explosion of global research—and regulations that, while well-meaning, were quashed, or widely flouted, by whaling nations, the first shot in a battle that continues to this day. The book closes with a look at the remarkable shift in public attitudes toward whales that began in the 1960s, as environmental concerns and new discoveries about whale behavior combined to make whales an object of sentimental concern and public adulation.
A sweeping history, grounded in nearly a decade of research, The Sounding of the Whale tells a remarkable story of how science, politics, and simple human wonder intertwined to transform the way we see these behemoths from below.
Winner of the 2015 CPTSC Award for Excellence in Program Assessment
Written for those who design, redesign, and assess writing programs, Very Like a Whale is an intensive discussion of writing program assessment issues. Taking its title from Hamlet, the book explores the multifaceted forces that shape writing programs and the central role these programs can and should play in defining college education.
Given the new era of assessment in higher education, writing programs must provide valid evidence that they are serving students, instructors, administrators, alumni, accreditors, and policymakers. This book introduces new conceptualizations associated with assessment, making them clear and available to those in the profession of rhetoric and composition/writing studies. It also offers strategies that aid in gathering information about the relative success of a writing program in achieving its identified goals.
Philosophically and historically aligned with quantitative approaches, White, Elliot, and Peckham use case study and best-practice scholarship to demonstrate the applicability of their innovative approach, termed Design for Assessment (DFA). Well grounded in assessment theory, Very Like a Whale will be of practical use to new and seasoned writing program administrators alike, as well as to any educator involved with the accreditation process.
Despite declining stocks and health risks, island communities in the Caribbean and North Atlantic still use traditional methods to hunt whales and dolphins for food. Russell Fielding presents the art, history, and purpose of whaling in these different cultures and describes what their future might look like as modern realities take hold.
Joe Roman Reaktion Books, 2006 Library of Congress QL737.C4R578 2006 | Dewey Decimal 599.5
One hundred years ago, a beached whale would have been greeted by a mob wielding flensing knives; today, people bring harnesses and boats to help it return to the sea. The whale is one of the most awe-inspiring and intelligent animals in nature, sharing a complex relationship with humans that has radically evolved over the centuries. Joe Roman offers in Whale a fascinating and in-depth look at the cultural and natural history of these majestic aquatic mammals.
From the Biblical prophet Jonah to Moby-Dick to recent discoveries of cetacean songs and culture, Roman examines the whale's role in history, art, literature, commerce, and science. Whale features vibrant illustrations, ranging from Stone Age carvings to full-color underwater photographs, which vividly bring to life the rich symbolic meanings surrounding the whale. Roman also examines the ecological and evolutionary history of the whale as well as contemporary issues of conservation. Whale is an engaging volume that will appeal to all those interested in the important role that these kings of the ocean have played in human culture.
K.L. Evans University of Minnesota Press, 2003 Library of Congress PS2384.M62E93 2003 | Dewey Decimal 813.3
An entirely fresh approach to Moby Dick, by way of Ludwig Wittgenstein.
The aim of this thoroughly unconventional work is to demonstrate that Herman Melville's Moby Dick and Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations share the same projects and are, in effect, one and the same book. Confounding and improbable as such an enterprise might seem, Whale! not only successfully reveals the vital intersections between Melville and Wittgenstein but also, more important, makes a compelling argument for why such intersections are essential to understanding common political projects in literature and philosophy.
Written with grace, passion, and wit, Whale! manages to produce a startling and remarkably original reading of one of the most written-about and interpreted books in the American canon. K. L. Evans explores Melville's vast work as a tale not of vengeance but of affection, and Ahab's near-pathological agitation as indicative of his refusal to accept the world as unknowable. Between Ahab and the whale, Evans traces a longing for connection and meaning and finds a forceful response to the skeptical view that language is bankrupt and knowledge is uncertain. In Ahab's hunt for Moby Dick, Whale! discovers a way to reconnect matter with meaning, object with knowledge.
K. L. Evans is assistant professor of English at the University of Redlands.
The Whale and His Captors is an important firsthand account of the golden age of American whaling, chronicling both its lore and science as practiced from the inception of the fishery to the mid-1800s. Late in the composition of Moby-Dick, Herman Melville found inspiration in Cheever and his writings that would provide the final flourishes for one of America’s classic novels. After exhausting other whaling sources—Beale, Scoresby, Bennett, and Browne—Melville turned to Cheever for chapter titles and organization as well as passages that helped shape, define, and elucidate his great work. This is the first scholarly edition of The Whale and His Captors, accompanied by an introduction and apparatus that clearly elucidates Cheever’s treatise on whaling and demonstrates how his writings contributed both to the course of American literature and to our burgeoning understanding of literature’s engagement with the natural world.
"The questions he poses about the relationship between technical change and political power are pressing ones that can no longer be ignored, and identifying them is perhaps the most a nascent 'philosophy of technology' can expect to achieve at the present time."—David Dickson, New York Times Book Review
"The Whale and the Reactor is the philosopher's equivalent of superb public history. In its pages an analytically trained mind confronts some of the most pressing political issues of our day."—Ruth Schwartz Cowan, Isis
“In an age in which the inexhaustible power of scientific technology makes all things possible, it remains to be seen where we will draw the line, where we will be able to say, here are possibilities that wisdom suggest we avoid.”
First published to great acclaim in 1988, Langdon Winner’s groundbreaking exploration of the political, social, and philosophical implications of technology is timelier than ever. He demonstrates that choices about the kinds of technical systems we build and use are actually choices about who we want to be and what kind of world we want to create—technical decisions are political decisions, and they involve profound choices about power, liberty, order, and justice. A seminal text in the history and philosophy of science, this new edition includes a new chapter, preface, and postscript by the author.