The Whiteness of the Whale: Moby-Dick and Melville’s America (LIT2401.02)

Benjamin Anastas

The poet Charles Olson, in his groundbreaking lyric study of Melville Call me Ishmael (1947), argues that Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (1851) is a truer and more essentially American literary document than Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (1855) because “it is all of America, all of her space, the malice, the root.” We’ll spend seven weeks reading Melville’s account of Ahab’s obsessive pursuit of the white whale that maimed him–and Ishmael’s similarly obsessive pursuit of understanding–employing a wide range of criticism and commentary to help guide us through the text. Students will keep a journal of their reading, collaborate on presentations, and undertake a final project involving individual, self-directed research.

Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 2
M 12:10pm - 2:00pm; W 12:10pm - 2:00pm (second seven weeks)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency:
This course is categorized as Monday and/or Thursday Afternoons, Wednesday Afternoons, All courses, Literature, Second Seven Week, Two Credit, 2000, Benjamin Anastas, and tagged , , , , , , .