Revisiting Melville, part I

I’ll be taking a short blogging break to enjoy the coming long weekend, and when I return I should be just about set to start writing about Moby-Dick. I have too much I want to write about. Cutting down to just one week may be difficult. Ah.

Before we get to that, I thought I would recap the first half of my reading through Melville. I read all his novels up to Moby-Dick this past fall and winter. My current reading of Moby-Dick is meant to kick off the rest of the trip, with Pierre the next stop. I already can’t wait to get to it.

I should note that I’m extremely glad to have undertaken this project, as the following books are all doing a lot to inform my current experience and the whole thing is proving rewarding.

If all that doesn’t get you excited for more, do visit Infinite Zombies, where they’ve been hosting a group read of Moby-Dick that’s just winding down. (I’m saving up the last bunch of posts until I’m done reading myself and can’t wait to get to them.)

On the above sketch by Thomas Beale, Ishmael says, “His frontispiece, boats attacking Sperm Whales, though no doubt calculated to excite the civil scepticism of some parlor men, is admirably correct and life-like in its general effect.”

*Sweeping claim mine.

5 comments to Revisiting Melville, part I

  • Love Melville and can’t wait for him to get Nicoled, in the best possible sense. Eagerly awaiting your riffs. Also, nothing better than a big sweeping claim… Cheers, Kevin

  • I love this! Thank you for reminding me that I’ve missed out on Herman Melville — I’ve just finished a couple of Hemingway books, and am thinking about tacking Moby Dick soon!! Can’t wait to read your thoughts!

  • Wow, what a project! I was searching for Melville-related goodies — I’m taking a grad school class on his work this spring — and finding this has been wonderful. I’ve never actually read any Melville, but this is making me much less frightened of him!

  • Glad to hear it! He’s not what you’d call easy, but certainly not something to be afraid of—the pop-cultural stereotypes of Moby-Dick notwithstanding. I hope your class is great; I would love to do such a thing myself, except for the whole going to grad school bit. Hope you’ll be blogging it a bit.

  • I was wondering if you see Melville’s “Cock-A-Doodle-Doo!” as a satire of Thoreau’s views on nature. I saw a post recently where it was suggested The Confidence Man is an attack on Emerson-do you find that credible. I am also starting to wonder if Bartleby the Scriveneer can be seen as an attack on the good works notions of Transcendentalists-