Thar she blows!

   Posted by: rring   in Classes

On Wednesday we hosted the students in professor Chris Hager’s class (ENGL 379) on Herman Melville, showing our early editions of Typeeand a few of the sources Melville used in writing that novel, as well as Moby Dick.

One of those sources we hold is David Porter’s 1815 Journal of a Cruise made to the Pacific Ocean, an account of the infamous wreck of the Essex, a whaling ship that was attacked by a mad sperm whale, which rammed it to pieces, and left the survivors out in three open boats in the Pacific.  A fabulous modern account of this voyage is Nathaniel Philbrick’s In The Heart of the Sea

The following is the course description:

“Though a superstar during his early career, Herman Melville watched his reputation decline as his literary ambitions escalated. One review of his seventh novel bore the headline, “Herman Melville Crazy.” Not until the 20th century did even his best-known work, Moby Dick, attract considerable attention, but it now stands at the center of the American literary pantheon. Melville’s work merits intensive, semester-long study not only because he is a canonical author of diverse narratives—from maritime adventures to tortured romances to philosophical allegories—but also because his career and legacy themselves constitute a narrative of central concern to literary studies and American culture. Through reading and discussion of several of his major works, we will explore Melville’s imagination, discover his work’s historical context, and think critically about literary form. For English majors, this course satisfies the requirement of a course emphasizing cultural context, or a course emphasizing literature written after 1800.”

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