Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 33 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Exclusive to OpEd News:
Life Arts    H4'ed 9/13/21

Sizing Up Melville for the 21st Century (REVIEW ESSAY)

By       (Page 1 of 5 pages)   No comments
Message Thomas Farrell
Become a Fan
  (22 fans)

Herman Melville by Joseph O Eaton.
Herman Melville by Joseph O Eaton.
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org), Author: Author Not Given)
  Details   Source   DMCA

Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) September 13, 2021: In this review essay, I aim to join the distinguished American Melville scholar and biographer Hershel Parker's enterprise of sizing up the American novelist, short story writer, and poet Herman Melville (1819-1891) who died in obscurity.

For my present purposes, I will bring to bear certain pertinent aspects of the thought of the American Jesuit Renaissance specialist and cultural historian Walter J. Ong (1912-2003; Ph.D. in English, Harvard University, 1955), who served as president of the Modern Language Association of America in 1978. His family name is English (it was earlier spelled "Onge"; it is probably related to the English name Yonge). Ong's ancestors left East Anglia on the same ship that brought Roger Williams to Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1631 - five years before the founding of Harvard College in 1636.

As far as I know, in Ong's 400 or so distinct publications (not counting translations or reprintings as distinct publications), his only, admittedly brief, discussion of Melville occurs in his essay "Personalism and Wilderness" in his 1962 essay collection The Barbarian Within: And Other Fugitive Essays and Studies New York: Macmillan, pages 233-241, at 234 and 236).

For a bibliography of Ong's 400 or so distinct publications, including bibliographic information about translations and reprintings, see Thomas M. Walsh's "Walter J. Ong, S.J.: A Bibliography 1929-2006" in the 2011 anthology Language, Culture, and Identity: The Legacy of Walter J. Ong, S.J., edited by Sara van den Berg and Thomas M. Walsh (New York: Hampton Press, pages 185-245).

Now, at times in the present essay, my style of composition will seem associative and digressive as I attempt to weave together relevant points from diverse sources. But they say that forewarned is fore-armed.

Now, let us note here that the fifteen volumes of The Writings of Herman Melville were published by Northwestern University Press and Newberry Library from 1968 to 2017. Known as the Northwester-Newberry Edition (abbreviated NN). Hershel Parker was involved as an editor of the Northwestern-Newberry Edition.

Hershel Parker has published four remarkably candid biographical volumes about Melville:

(1) Herman Melville: A Biography: Volume 1: 1819-1851 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996);

(2) Herman Melville: A Biography: Volume 2, 1851-1891 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002);

(3) Melville: The Making of the Poet (Northwestern University Press, 2008);

(4) Melville Biography: An Inside Narrative (Northwestern University Press, 2013).

Now, the 2018 third edition of the Norton Critical Edition of Herman Melville's 1851 masterpiece Moby-Dick comes equipped with maps, illustrations, amply footnoted text (pages 1-418), and abundant backward-glancing and forward-oriented contextualizing material (pages 419-704), including references for further reading (pages 705-706). But stand forewarned: the print is small.

It is edited by the indefatigable Hershel Parker, who supplies the "Preface" (pages xi-xv), headnotes, footnotes, and four selections:

(1) "Melville's Reading and Moby-Dick: An Overview and a Bibliography" (pages 501-510);

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Rate It | View Ratings

Thomas Farrell Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; Ph.D.in higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)
 

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

 
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Was the Indian Jesuit Anthony de Mello Murdered in the U.S. 25 Years Ago? (BOOK REVIEW)

Who Was Walter Ong, and Why Is His Thought Important Today?

Celebrating Walter J. Ong's Thought (REVIEW ESSAY)

More Americans Should Live Heroic Lives of Virtue (Review Essay)

Hillary Clinton Urges Us to Stand Up to Extremists in the U.S.

Martha Nussbaum on Why Democracy Needs the Humanities (Book Review)

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend