Cover image for Sounding the whale : Moby-Dick as epic novel
Sounding the whale : Moby-Dick as epic novel
Sten, Christopher, 1944-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Kent, Ohio : Kent State University Press, [1996]

Physical Description:
ix, 91 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Previously published as ch. 6 of The weaver God, he weaves. Kent, Ohio : Kent State University Press, 1996. With a new introd.
Reading Level:
1490 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS2384.M62 S69 1996 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PS2384.M62 S69 1996 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Sounding the Whale is Christopher Sten's comprehensive account of his own close encounter with Moby-Dick. Originally a long, self-contained chapter in The Weaver-God, He Weaves: Melville and the Poetics of the Novel, just published by Kent State University Press, this chapter-by-chapter study of Moby-Dick evolved as a book within a book. Sten argues that Melville not only was familiar with the traditional forms of narrative but that he refined them and appropriated them to his own original purposes. For Moby-Dick, he fused the heroic qualities of the ancient Homeric epic with the spiritual qualities of the early modern form found in Dante and Milton, then cast the whole enterprise in an unprecedented poetic prose form. Thus he formulated the first prose epic of its kind, and the only religious epic on the subject of whaling anyone is likely to write. As Melville's most ambitious novel, Moby-Dick requires careful and responsive reading. For a clear understanding of the intricacy and depth of Melville's story, of the subtleties of the quest, one is likely to need a guide. This book is that guide.

Author Notes

Christopher Sten, professor of English at George Washington University, is the author of The Weaver-God, He Weaves (Kent State University Press, 1996) and editor of Savage Eye: Melville and the Visual Arts (Kent State University Press, 1991).

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Sounding the Whale: Moby-Dick as Epic Novelp. 1
Notesp. 83
Bibliographyp. 87
Indexp. 89