Moby-Dick and Its Afterlife

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Humanities Arts Cultural Stu

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Hampshire College
Moby-Dick, that hard-to-classify novel about Captain Ahab's mad search for the White Whale, took its own long voyage to arrive at a position in the canon of U.S. literature. Poorly received when it was published in 1851, Herman Melville's novel gained its canonical position only when it was revived in the 20th century. This course will follow Moby-Dick's voyage: we will read the novel itself and explore its contemporary contexts, then we will examine three moments of the novel's revival: first by writers impressed by Moby-Dick's proto-modernist style, second by those who tied the "monomaniacal" Captain Ahab to the Cold War threat of "totalitarianism," as well as the revisionist view of C.L.R. James, whose book on Melville (composed in 1952 while awaiting deportation under the McCarran-Walter Act) focused on the abbreviated histories of the novel's "mariners, renegades, and castaways," and third by writers who discussed the significance of Moby-Dick in the 21st century.

Culture, Humanities, and Languages Writing and Research Multiple Cultural Perspectives

Instructor Permission: 
Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.
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Course Sections

Moby-Dick and Its Afterlife
Sect # Credits Instructor(s) Instructor Email Meeting Times Location
1 4.0

Michele Hardesty

06:00PM-07:20PM M,W

Franklin Patterson Hall 104