Archive | Melville RSS feed for this section

On Allan Sekula: In the American Grain (WFHB’s Interchange)

AUDIO LINK: Shooting the Gulf: Allan Sekula In the American Grain In his most famous essay, “Self-Reliance,” Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote perhaps his most famous sentences: “Life only avails, not the having lived. Power ceases in the instant of repose; it resides in the moment of transition from a past to a new state, in […]

Read More 0 Comments

To Catch a Noddy

The tops were large, and were railed about with what had once been octagonal net-work, all now in sad disrepair. These tops hung overhead like three ruinous aviaries, in one of which was seen, perched, on a ratlin, a white noddy, a strange fowl, so called from its lethargic, somnambulistic character, being frequently caught by […]

Read More 0 Comments

Everything Reminds Me of Moby Dick: Maxine Kumin

It came to my attention while skimming the Women’s Review of Books that poet Maxine Kumin had died (nearly a year ago). I know nothing of Kumin’s work but this memorial piece by Robin Becker reminded me of something: The humor here belies the relationship Kumin negotiated with her own impulse toward reverence. The paradise […]

Read More 0 Comments

The Work of Language

This is from Dan McCall’s preface to the Norton Critical ed. of Melville’s Short Novels. ********* He read voraciously; in Moby-Dick he said, “I have swam through libraries.” When he began to read Shakespeare, for example, something not altogether conscious or voluntary began happening to him. In American Renaissance, …F. O. Matthiessen concludes that Melville’s […]

Read More 0 Comments

Swerve Me Ye Cannot!

From Lecture #6 from John Searle’s 1984 Reith Lectures, “Minds, Brains and Science.” If libertarianism, that is the thesis of free will, were true, it appears we would have to make some really radical changes in our beliefs about the world. In order for us to have radical freedom then it looks as if we […]

Read More 0 Comments

Tied to Your Shared Fate

[In which we conclude that Stubb's version of the monkey-rope is evil.] What is Equality? The state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. What is Equity? The quality of being fair or impartial; fairness. Is there equity in the (shared, negotiated?) social understanding of equality? I read this in a recent New […]

Read More 0 Comments

Law On Her Brow

One would guess that “The Portent” is far and away Herman Melville’s most well-known poem (perhaps the only poem of his remembered or read by anyone other than an academic). It opens his book Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War (1866), and so opens the “Battle-Pieces” section of the book. This poem is about John […]

Read More 2 Comments

The Ungraspable (Extractable) Phantom

“But the list is artful…” (Harold Beaver) Melville opens Moby Dick, often considered the greatest book written by an American, with a list of extracts. That is, our greatest author offers as opening gambit the words of others. And many of them. There are eighty extracts. They begin at the beginning, with Genesis, the beginning […]

Read More 0 Comments

“Clubbed Voices” for the Doubtful

It is often said that Moby Dick is difficult to read.  I don’t intend to disagree.  It’s the kind of book that really can’t even be classified with clarity these days.  It is in no way like a novel that we read now.  It is something more akin to an “anatomy” as it seems to encompass […]

Read More 2 Comments

Tit-Bits

At last, passage paid, and luggage safe, we stood on board the schooner. Hoisting sail, it glided down the Acushnet river. On one side, New Bedford rose in terraces of streets, their ice- covered trees all glittering in the clear, cold air. Huge hills and mountains of casks on casks were piled upon her wharves, and […]

Read More 0 Comments

WFHB’s Interchange – Just a Spoonful of America

Audio: Just a Spoonful of America The title of our show, “Just a Spoonful of America – Prescribing American Studies […]

Luis Buñuel’s The Young One: Anatomy of White Male Supremacy (WFHB’s Interchange)

AUDIO: Luis Buñuel’s The Young One: Anatomy of White Male Supremacy We open with the jazz tune, “Epistrophy,” from Eric […]

WFHB’s Interchange – A Targeted Divide: What Bullets do to Bodies and Lives

AUDIO: What Bullets do to Bodies and Lives This is the special 90-minute finale for our series A Targeted Divide. […]

WFHB’s Interchange – A Targeted Divide: Crime, Decline, and the Rise of the Citizen-Protector

AUDIO: Crime, Decline, and the Rise of the Citizen Protector For our second show in our three-part series, A Targeted […]

WFHB’s Interchange: A Targeted Divide: Gunning Down the Bill of Rights

AUDIO: Gunning Down the Bill of Rights Today we begin a series of three programs on Guns in the USA […]

WFHB’s Interchange – Undermining Zinctown: The Feminist Socialism of Salt of the Earth

AUDIO: Undermining Zinctown We open with music composed by Sol Kaplan for the film Salt of the Earth. Kaplan was […]