Melville and Aesthetics

Hardcover | September 15, 2011

EditorGeoffrey Sanborn, Samuel Otter

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This groundbreaking collection of essays represents Herman Melville as an artist for whom questions of sensation, pleasure, and form cannot be separated from philosophical and political concerns. Contributors offer original and provocative readings that span Melville's career and engage the resurgence of interest among literary scholars in aesthetics. The first of its kind, this collection returns us to the particularities of Melville's extraordinarily varied works andtransforms the subject of aesthetics into an invigorating and unpredictable source of interpretive energy.

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This groundbreaking collection of essays represents Herman Melville as an artist for whom questions of sensation, pleasure, and form cannot be separated from philosophical and political concerns. Contributors offer original and provocative readings that span Melville's career and engage the resurgence of interest among literary scholar...

Samuel Otter is Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Melville’s Anatomies and Philadelphia Stories: America’s Literature of Race and Freedom and the co-editor, with Robert S. Levine, of Frederick Douglass and Herman Melville: Essays in Relation.Geoffrey Sanborn is an Associate Professor o...

other books by Geoffrey Sanborn

Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.62 inPublished:September 15, 2011Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230113796

ISBN - 13:9780230113794

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Aesthetics and Melville--Samuel Otter and Geoffrey Sanborn * Part I: The Matter of Style * Blubber: Melville’s Bad Writing--Alex Calder * Melville’s Ornamentation: On Irrelevant Beauty--Theo Davis * Melvillean Provocation and the Critical Art of Devotion--Andrew Dubois * Part II: Case Studies * Strange Sensations: Sex and Aesthetics in "The Counterpane"--Christopher Looby * Dead Bones and Honest Wonders: The Aesthetics of Natural Science in Moby-Dick--Jennifer J. Baker * Pulled by the Line: Speed and Photography in Moby-Dick--Laura Rigal * Pierre’s Nominal Conversions--Elizabeth Duquette * "The Silhouette of a Content": "Bartleby" and American Literary Specificity--Nancy Ruttenberg * The Revolutionary Aesthetics of Israel Potter--Robert S. Levine * Theatricality, Strangeness, and the Aesthetics of Plurality in The Confidence-Man--Jennifer Greiman * Battle Music: Melville and the Forms of War--Peter Coviello * Melville’s Song of Songs: Clarel as Aesthetic Pilgrimage--Ilana Pardes

Editorial Reviews

"This collection of essays makes an essential contribution to American literary scholarship by expanding the hermeneutical possibilities of theory and practice as well as enriching our understanding of Melville's literary works." - Review 19 "Melville and Aesthetics provides a snapshot of Melville criticism as it is currently practiced by some of the field's most accomplished interpreters. The volume treats a wide range of texts by Melville, including the poetry, and essay after essay wrestles with Melville's astonishing stylistic achievements with intelligence and verve.This is a volume that will be welcomed by students and specialists alike." - Jonathan Elmer, Professor of English and American Studies, Indiana University and author of On Lingering and Being Last: Race and Sovereignty in the New World   "Melville and Aesthetics gives us a set of elegant and interpretively rich essays that add up to a powerful argument about the essential place of aesthetics in Melville's career. The 'extravagant qualities of Melville's lines,' to use Otter and Sanborn's phrase, are made visible and analytically vital as never before." - Cindy Weinstein, Professor of English, California Institute of Technology