By Clark Davis
After the Whale Melville within the Wake of Moby-Dick Clark Davis
After the Whale contextualizes Herman Melville's brief fiction
and poetry by means of learning it within the corporation of the extra frequent fiction
of the 1850s period. The examine makes a speciality of Melville's imaginative and prescient of the
purpose and serve as of language from Moby-Dick via Billy Budd with
a targeted emphasis on how language--in functionality and form--follows and depends
on the functionality and kind of the physique, how Melville's angle toward
words echoes his angle towards §esh. Davis starts through finding and
describing the elemental dialectic formulated in Moby-Dick within the characters
of Ahab and Ishmael. This dialectic produces visions of physically reality
and corresponding visions of language: Ahab's, during which language
is either weapon and replacement physique, and Ishmael's, within which language
is an extension of the body--a medium of clarification, dialog, and
play. those types of language offer a key to realizing the difficult
relationships and formal adjustments in Melville's writings after Moby-Dick.
By following each one work's perspective towards the dialectic, we will see
the contours of the later profession extra truly and so start a stream away
from weakly contextualized readings of person novels and brief stories
to a extra whole attention of Melville's profession. when you consider that the
rediscovery of Herman Melville within the early many years of this century, criticism
has been constrained to the prose regularly and to a couple significant works in particular.
Those who've given major recognition to the fast fiction
and poetry have performed so usually out of context, that's, in multi-author
works dedicated solely to those genres. the outcome has been a criticism
with huge gaps, so much specially for works from Melville's later
career. The relative loss of curiosity within the poetry has left us with little
understanding of the way Melville's later voices constructed, of ways the
novels advanced into stories, the stories into poetry, and the poetry again into
prose. in brief, the improvement of MelvilleÍs artwork throughout the final
three a long time of his lifestyles is still a subject matter of which we've been afforded
only glimpses, hardly a continual cognizance. After the Whale provides
a new, extra complete realizing of Melville's progress as
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Extra info for After the Whale: Melville in the Wake of Moby Dick
9 Above all, it is Ahab's failure to accept the corporeality of Moby-Dick, first physically, then mentally, that drives him mad. Ahab "pitted himself, all mutilated, against it" (184). He desires to "dismember [his] dismemberer" (168), not only to take apart Moby-Dick but to deprive him of "membership," of connection to the world, and to sexuality, as the whale has done to Ahab. In short, Ahab, topographically divided into head and body, has rejected the corporeal (he orders from the carpenter a man with "no heart at all, brass forehead, and about a quarter of an acre of fine brains" ), has lost the "low, enjoying power" (167), and, sexually wounded by his whale-bone leg (463), has refused to give in to the melding of head and heart.
The illustration on the title page is an engraving entitled Figures on a Shore in a Storm, after Claude Joseph Vernet. ) Page v For my parents and for Hillary Page vii CONTENTS Preface ix Acknowledgments xiii I. Moby-Dick and After 1. Moby-Dick and the Divided Body 3 2. Language and the Ascetic Body in Pierre and "Bartleby" 24 3. Israel Potter and the Search for the Hearth 46 II. The Limits of Form 4. Toward Deception: The Short Fiction and the Failing Body 65 5. Inverted Worlds: "Benito Cereno" and The Confidence-Man 84 III.
Old Ahab! the White Whale; he'll nail ye! This is a pine tree. My father, in old Tolland county, cut down a pine tree once, and found a silver ring grown over in it; some old darkey's wedding ring. How did it get there? And so they'll say in the resurrection, when they come to fish up this old mast, and find a doubloon lodged in it, with Page 16 bedded oysters for the shaggy bark. Oh, the gold! the green miser'll hoard ye soon! Hish, hish! God goes 'mong the worlds blackberrying" (435). What gives this speech its position in the book's linguistic spectrum is its combination of extreme consciousness and near unconsciousness.
After the Whale: Melville in the Wake of Moby Dick by Clark Davis