Tag Archives: Herman Melville

Poetry Helped Feed Robert E. Lee Myth

Herman Melville and Julie Ward Howe, although anti-slavery, unfortunately wrote poems which helped mythologize Robert E. Lee, whose statues have become symbols of white supremacy. And indeed, Lee was a white supremacist.

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Bob Dylan, Gifted Storyteller

Bob Dylan, in his Nobel Acceptance Speech, made it clear that literary influences are as big in his song writing as musical influences.

Posted in Dylan (Bob), Homer, Melville (Herman), Remarque (Erich Maria) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2016’s Top Story–Trump, Trump, Trump

Looking back of 2016, I choose three posts that stood out to me, all dealing with Trump. One compares him to Satan inspiring the invasion of Earth by Sin and Death in “Paradise Lost.” The other two compare him to Herman Melville’s “Confidence Man” and to the narrator’s son in the Raymond Carver short story “Why, Honey?”

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Ahab Obsession and the Clintons

The right wing’s obsession with the Clinton has prompted one pundit to invoke Ahab’s obsession with Moby Dick.

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On Forgetting Old Students

Sometimes as teachers we forget students that we impacted greatly. Thomas Hardy’s Jude learns this when he looks up his old teacher Phillotson.

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Trump as Melville’s Confidence Man

Why, in the words of Nicholas Kristof, do we think of Hillary as “a slippery, compulsive liar” and Donald Trump as “a gutsy truth-teller.” Herman Melville gives us a compelling explanation in “The Confidence Man.”

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Lily, Achilles, Bertha & Ishmael on Vacation

Lily Bart, Bertha Mason, Achilles, Ishmael and Queequeg all go on vacation. Where do they go?

Posted in Bronte (Charlotte), Homer, Melville (Herman) | Also tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Political Consultants Should Read Lit

Which literary works would you recommend to a political consultant to stay in touch with his or her soul and avoid becoming lost in the dark side? How about Hawthorne, Melville, Shakespeare, Pinter, and Terrence McNally?

Posted in Hawthorne (Nathaniel), McNally (Terrence), Melville (Herman), Pinter (Harold), Shakespeare (William) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whitman, Melville & Abolitionism

Walt Whitman and Herman Melville’s revolutionary visions of egalitarian societies shaped how Abolitionists thought about America’s potential.

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An Ideal Place to Study Lit

A summer institute where one buries oneself in books is my version of James Hilton’s Shangri-La.

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Benito Cereno on War, Racism

A story of two students who found themselves using “Benito Cereno” to sort through two of the biggest issues that Americans face.

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Melville and Climate Change Denial

Melville’s “Benito Cereno” perfectly captures Rightwing denial of climate change.

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Melville’s Parable of American Denial

Melville’s “Benito Cereno” captures the contradictions of today’s conservative extremists.

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Beards Win Big–Melville Would Approve

Herman Melville would have approved of the Boston Red Sox and the beards.

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Lit’s Ten Most Sensitive Guys

To match my 10 strongest literary women characters, here are my 10 most sensitive male characters.

Posted in Austen (Jane), Baldwin (James), Dickens (Charles), Dostoevsky (Fyodor), Fielding (Henry), Fitzgerald (F. Scott), McCarthy (Cormac), Melville (Herman), Milton (John), Steinbeck (John) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Does Moby Dick Await Us?

Is America headed for the same fate as the Pequod?

Posted in Melville (Herman) | Also tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

No More Privacy–And We Don’t Care

We no longer fiercely guide our privacy, as did the worlds of Austen, Trollope, Thoreau, and Melville.

Posted in Boswell (James), Johnson (Samuel), Melville (Herman), Thoreau (Henry David), Trollope (Anthony) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Civil War Was Fueled by Poetry

Scholar Faith Barrett shows how the War between the States was a “poetry fueled war.”

Posted in Howe (Julie Ward), Stowe (Harriet Beecher) | Also tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Lamentation and Weeping in Newtown

The Sandy Hook killings recall the Biblical massacre of the innocents, referenced in “Moby Dick.”

Posted in Bible, Melville (Herman), Owen (Wilfred) | Also tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Defeating the White Whale of Race Hatred

With a little imagination, “Moby Dick” can be dramatized as a story about race relations.

Posted in Melville (Herman) | Also tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Campaign 2012: Assorted Lit Allusions

Literary allusions are flying fast and free in this primary season.

Posted in Blake (William), Bunyan (John), Carroll (Lewis), Hawthorne (Nathaniel), Melville (Herman), Milne (A. A.) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bartleby, A Story of (Occupy) Wall Street

Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” has been adopted by a number of the Occupy Wall Street protesters but, according to one commentator, the story works as an ironic commentary on the movement.

Posted in Melville (Herman) | Also tagged , , | 1 Comment

Captain Ahab, a Tyrant for All Seasons

Nathaniel Philbrick describes “Moby Dick” as a “metaphysical survival manual” which helps us understand the nature of tyrants.

Posted in Melville (Herman) | Also tagged , , | 3 Comments

Mold Causing Problems? Bring in a Ship

Our students, displaced by mold, are being housed in a cruise ship. A campus production of “As You Like It” may have given administrators the idea.

Posted in Dahl (Roald), Melville (Herman), Porter (Katherine Anne), Shakespeare (William) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Bartleby and the Missing Professor

One of the strangest reading stories I have ever encountered involves an English professor who mysteriously disappeared and Melville’s novella Bartleby the Scrivener.

Posted in Melville (Herman) | Also tagged , | 3 Comments

Peyton Manning as Moby Dick?!

Sports Saturday In anticipation of football’s “Wild Card Weekend,” which begins today, I see that a sports writer has invoked Herman Melville’s masterpiece. Dan Graziano believes that Indianapolis Colt quarterback Peyton Manning has become Rex Ryan’s Moby Dick. He has beaten the New York Jets coach so many times that Ryan has become obsessed with […]

Posted in Kipling (Rudyard), Melville (Herman), Steinbeck (John), Tennyson (Alfred Lord) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

The Choice: To Die or to Go on Caring

Yesterday we buried a long-time friend, 98-year-old Maurine Holbert Hogaboom, a New York actress who had retired to southern Maryland.  Tomorrow we commemorate the tenth anniversary of the death of my oldest son Justin.  April, a month of new beginnings, has too often proved cruel as well. Nature often works ironically.  Justin, feeling joyous on a […]

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