Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Melville

ENGL 783.301
instructor(s):
W 12-3

This course is an intensive reading in the prose and poetry of Herman Melville, especially Moby Dick (1851); Pierre, or the Ambiguities (1852); Israel Potter (1855); The Piazza Tales (1856), The Confidence Man (1857); Battle Pieces and Aspects of the War (1866); Clarel: A Poem and A Pilgrimage(1876); Billy Budd, Sailor (1924). Only in the conclusion of the course will we turn to a discussion of literary critical approaches to these works. For the burden of this class will lie in our close readings and contextualization of Melville's writings, which will demand some familiarity with authors and issues crucial to his accounts of the Old World and New, his obsession with taxonomies of the human, the facts of bondage, and the nature of belief-whether in law, God, or nation. These collateral readings include works by John Locke, David Hume, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Orville Dewey, James Kent, Edgar Allan Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, the legal opinions of Lemuel Shaw and Joseph Story, as well as selected natural histories of the Caribbean. Requirements: an oral presentation and a final essay. 

Fulfills 2 & 4 requirements.