Critical Insights: Moby Dick

Critical Insights Series

The series focuses on an individual author's entire body of work, a single work of literature, or a literary theme.

At a Glance
  • 1 Volume; 300 Pages
  • 10-14 essays offering Current Critical Analysis by Top Literary Scholars
  • Introductory Essay by the Editor
  • Chronology of Author's Life
  • Complete List of Author's Works
  • Publication Dates of Works
  • Detailed Bio of the Editor
  • General Bibliography
  • General Subject Index
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Edited by Eric Carl Link

A great starting point for students seeking an introduction to Melville and the critical discussions surrounding his work. This volume in the Critical Insights series presents a variety of new essays on the American writer.

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Editor: Robert C. Evans
August 2014 · 1 volume · 300 pages · 6"x9"

Includes Online Database with Print Purchase
ISBN: 978-1-61925-405-3
# of Pages: 300
# of Volumes: 1
Print List Price: $105
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e-ISBN: 978-1-61925-406-0
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In-depth critical discussions of Melville's novel - Plus complimentary, unlimited online access to the full content of this great literary reference.

Edited by Robert C. Evans, I. B. Young Professor of English at Auburn University at Montgomery, this volume presents a variety of new essays on Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, which is often considered the greatest American novel – a vast epic that combines deep philosophy and high adventure as well as rich comedy and profound tragedy. Moby-Dick also offers a particularly diverse array of characters of various types, personalities, and ethnic backgrounds, and its styles are as varied as the people it depicts. Full of humorous dialects and idioms and brimming with probing, impassioned, poetic speeches, Melville’s novel explores the fascinating world of whale-hunting in the mid-nineteenth century, even as it also explores some of the most perennial questions about the purposes and meanings of life. The final impact of the book, when enraged whale meets pursuing ship, is one of the most memorable episodes in all of American literature.

The present volume examines Moby-Dick, the novel (references to Moby Dick the whale have no italics and no hyphen), from a variety of points of view. Indeed, a special focus of this volume involves the many different kinds of critical perspectives that can be—and have been—employed when examining Melville’s masterwork. In particular, the present volume emphasizes how the novel was received by many of its earlier readers; the variety of ways in which it can be interpreted by readers today; and a number of the most up-to-date approaches, such as ecocriticism and connections between Melville’s novel and modern art.

In the critical context section, an array of topics are dicussed such as "Sailor, Writer, Metaphysician," "The Critic and the Whale," and "Critical Pluralism," to name a few. The critical readings section dominates the later half of the book. First responses to the title in addition to responses from the Nineteenth Century are noted. Religion is another topic examined thoroughly. Natural History, personification, ecology, and fallacy are other themes noted in these articles. The volume concludes with details on other works by Melville, a Bibliography, an About the Editor section, Contributors, and an index.

This volume and author of nearly 30 books and over 300 essays) is designed to help make Melville’s great novel more readily accessible to a wide audience, especially students and everyday readers. Containing numerous essays by many prominent Melville scholars, the book places Melville and his epic novel in their various historical contexts while also showing how the novel continues to be relevant – and powerful – today. The volume seeks to show that Moby-Dick is no mere period piece but instead fully deserves its reputation as perhaps the greatest work of American fiction.