Cover image for The Cambridge companion to Herman Melville
The Cambridge companion to Herman Melville
Levine, Robert S. (Robert Steven), 1953-
Publication Information:
Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Physical Description:
xix, 305 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Introduction / "Race" in Typee and White-Jacket / Tambourine in glory: African culture and Melville's art / Moby-Dick as revolution / Pierre's domestic ambiguities / "A!̲̲̲̲̲": unreadability in The Confidence Man / Melville the poet / Melville's traveling God / Melville and sexuality / Melville, labor, and the discourses of reception

"Bewildering intertanglement": Melville's engagement with British culture / Melville and the avenging dream

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS2387 .C28 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PS2387 .C28 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The Cambridge Companion to Herman Melville is intended to provide a critical introduction to Melville's work. The essays have been specially commissioned for this volume, and provide a comprehensive overview of Melville's career. All of Melville's novels are discussed, as well as most of his poetry and short fiction. Written at a level both challenging and accessible, the volume provides fresh perspectives on an American author whose work continues to fascinate readers and stimulate new study.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Quality control is the chief problem with this collection of new essays on Melville. Seven of the 13 authors convey their views with commendable tact and reasonably plausible evidence: essays that do not convince readers fully at least force them to reconsider and perhaps modify their own views. The best pieces are Andrew Delbanco's afterword, Robert Milder's attempt to locate a dominant purpose running through Melville's works, and the essays on Moby-Dick, Pierre, Melville's poetry, sexuality in Melville's works, and Melville's "engagement" with British culture. To varying degrees, the other pieces assume moot premises without establishing reasons for accepting them and/or assert the influences of events, people, concepts, etc., without providing solid evidence that Melville thought of them in a particular way--or, in some cases, even knew of them. An essay on the influence of African culture on Melville's art, for example, repeatedly leaps from possibilities (may, might, and would have) to unwarranted certainties (did and must have). This volume has a useful chronology of Melville's life and a good bibliography, but its index has serious omissions, and its copyediting was careless. Though this book will serve upper-division undergraduates through faculty, a better collection is Melville's Evermoving Dawn: Centennial Essays, ed. by John Bryant and Robert Milder (CH, May'98). D. R. Eastwood; United States Merchant Marine Academy

Table of Contents

1 IntroductionRobert S. Levine
2 'Race' in Typee and WhiteJacket Samuel Otter
3 The tambourine in glory: African culture and Melville's artSterling Stuckey
4 Moby-Dick as revolutionJohn Bryant
5 Pierre's Domestic AmbiguitiesWyn Kelley
6 'A- !': unreadability in The Confidence ManElizabeth Renker
7 Melville the poetLawrence Buell
8 Melville's travelling GodJenny Franchot
9 Melville and sexualityRobert K. Martin
10 Melville, labor, and the discourses of receptionCindy Weinstein
11 'Bewildering Intertanglement': Melville's engagement with British culturePaul Giles
12 AfterwordAndrew Delbanco