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 way of learning it within the corporation of the extra normal fiction
of the 1850s period. The research specializes in Melville's imaginative and prescient of the
purpose and serve as of language from Moby-Dick via Billy Budd with
a unique emphasis on how language--in functionality and form--follows and depends
on the functionality and type of the physique, how Melville's perspective toward
words echoes his angle towards §esh. Davis starts by way of 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, within which language
is either weapon and replacement physique, and Ishmael's, within which language
is an extension of the body--a medium of rationalization, dialog, and
play. those varieties of language supply a key to realizing the difficult
relationships and formal adjustments in Melville's writings after Moby-Dick.

By following each one work's angle towards the dialectic, we will be able to see
the contours of the later occupation extra essentially and so commence a flow away
from weakly contextualized readings of person novels and brief stories
to a extra entire attention of Melville's profession. for the reason that the
rediscovery of Herman Melville within the early a long time of this century, criticism
has been restricted to the prose mostly and to some significant works in particular.
Those who've given major recognition to the quick fiction
and poetry have performed so usually out of context, that's, in multi-author
works committed completely to those genres. the outcome has been a criticism
with huge gaps, so much particularly for works from Melville's later
career. The relative loss of curiosity within the poetry has left us with little
understanding of ways Melville's later voices built, of the way the
novels developed into stories, the stories into poetry, and the poetry again into
prose. briefly, the advance of MelvilleÍs artwork throughout the final
three many years of his lifestyles continues to be an issue of which we now have been afforded
only glimpses, not often a continuing realization. After the Whale provides
a new, extra entire knowing of Melville's development as
a writer.

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Extra info for After the Whale: Melville in the Wake of Moby Dick

Example text

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. Reshaping the Lost Debate 6. The Fissure in the Hearth: Battle Pieces 107 7. Clarel and the Search for the Divine Body 125 8. A Question of Distance: The Late Poetry 151 IV. An Open Ending 9. Billy Budd and the Touch of a God 187 Epilogue 201 Page viii Notes 203 Bibliography 219 Index 227 Page ix PREFACE Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its ragged edges.

Oh, oh! Yet blindfold, yet will I talk to thee. Light though thou be, thou leapest out of darkness; but I am darkness leaping out of light, leaping out of thee! (507) As both Matthiessen and Olson have told us, Ahab's speeches act and sound Shakespearean. 19 But beyond their blank verse rhythms and jagged bursts of energy, they further echo Ahab's duality of vision and so provide a key into the structure of his thought. The rhetorical patterns, forged within the great dualism of his quest, emerge in conflicting pairs, each utterance fractured into equal and opposing halves.

But as we will later see, the novel makes clear that such interpretations, including the "superstitious" accounts of the whale, result from an inability to embrace the lower stratum and that at the point of the ship's encounter with the squid, Ishmael remains under the influence of Ahab, the book's most significant representative of that failure. If the squid represents the formless, most primal manifestation of the cosmic body, then the variously encountered whales (excluding, for the moment, Moby-Dick) represent an at once more formal and sentientand therefore less primal but more dangerousform of the lower stratum.

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