Category Archives: Melville (Herman)

Benito Cereno on War, Racism

A story of two students who found themselves using “Benito Cereno” to sort through two of the biggest issues that Americans face.

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Chris Andersen as Queequeg

The Miami Heat’s Chris Andersen is an existentialist enigma that could come straight out of “Moby Dick.”

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Melville and Climate Change Denial

Melville’s “Benito Cereno” perfectly captures Rightwing denial of climate change.

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Melville’s Parable of American Denial

Melville’s “Benito Cereno” captures the contradictions of today’s conservative extremists.

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Beards Win Big–Melville Would Approve

Herman Melville would have approved of the Boston Red Sox and the beards.

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Lit’s Ten Most Sensitive Guys

To match my 10 strongest literary women characters, here are my 10 most sensitive male characters.

Also posted in Austen (Jane), Baldwin (James), Dickens (Charles), Dostoevsky (Fyodor), Fielding (Henry), Fitzgerald (F. Scott), McCarthy (Cormac), Milton (John), Steinbeck (John) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Does Moby Dick Await Us?

Is America headed for the same fate as the Pequod?

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No More Privacy–And We Don’t Care

We no longer fiercely guide our privacy, as did the worlds of Austen, Trollope, Thoreau, and Melville.

Also posted in Boswell (James), Johnson (Samuel), Thoreau (Henry David), Trollope (Anthony) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lamentation and Weeping in Newtown

The Sandy Hook killings recall the Biblical massacre of the innocents, referenced in “Moby Dick.”

Also posted in Bible, Owen (Wilfred) | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Defeating the White Whale of Race Hatred

With a little imagination, “Moby Dick” can be dramatized as a story about race relations.

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Campaign 2012: Assorted Lit Allusions

Literary allusions are flying fast and free in this primary season.

Also posted in Blake (William), Bunyan (John), Carroll (Lewis), Hawthorne (Nathaniel), Milne (A. A.) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bartleby, A Story of (Occupy) Wall Street

Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” has been adopted by a number of the Occupy Wall Street protesters but, according to one commentator, the story works as an ironic commentary on the movement.

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Captain Ahab, a Tyrant for All Seasons

Nathaniel Philbrick describes “Moby Dick” as a “metaphysical survival manual” which helps us understand the nature of tyrants.

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Mold Causing Problems? Bring in a Ship

Our students, displaced by mold, are being housed in a cruise ship. A campus production of “As You Like It” may have given administrators the idea.

Also posted in Dahl (Roald), Porter (Katherine Anne), Shakespeare (William) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Bartleby and the Missing Professor

One of the strangest reading stories I have ever encountered involves an English professor who mysteriously disappeared and Melville’s novella Bartleby the Scrivener.

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Peyton Manning as Moby Dick?!

Sports Saturday In anticipation of football’s “Wild Card Weekend,” which begins today, I see that a sports writer has invoked Herman Melville’s masterpiece. Dan Graziano believes that Indianapolis Colt quarterback Peyton Manning has become Rex Ryan’s Moby Dick. He has beaten the New York Jets coach so many times that Ryan has become obsessed with […]

Also posted in Kipling (Rudyard), Steinbeck (John), Tennyson (Alfred Lord) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Barack and Huck, Babo, Hamlet, etc.

I’m fascinated by the way that literature has helped shape and guide different American president, a subject I’ve written about in the past. Thus I was thrilled to stumble across a Barack Obama reading list compiled shortly after his inauguration. I don’t know how I missed it. According to the website The Curious Autodidact (great […]

Also posted in Augustine, Bible, Doctorow (E. L.), Hughes (Langston), Jefferson (Thomas), Malcolm X, Nietzsche (Friedrich), Twain (Mark), Uris (Leon), Warren (Robert Penn) | Tagged , , | Comments closed

When Nature Wreaks Its Revenge

Randy Kennedy has written a superb article in the New York Times that points out parallels between the Gulf oil spill and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Kennedy says that, in the 19th century, New England whalers had to venture further and further afield to find oil-producing whales (they had depleted the local stock). Melville’s apocalyptic vision is eerily prescient.

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