Moby-Dick and Its Ambiguities
The core of this paired Humanities and English course is an examination of Herman Melville’s 1851 masterpiece of dark romanticism, Moby-Dick; or The Whale. Melville’s novel has been called many things: transgressive, experimental, flawed, overwrought, Transcendentalist, anti-Transcendentalist, realist, naturalist, Gothic, epic, Shakespearean, and proto-modernist. The varied responses are a testament to the work’s power as an exploration of America’s (and humanity’s) deepest and most conflicted desires and fears. We will study Melville’s novel intensively, along with several related works that will help to place Moby-Dick in the context of its time, and various philosophical and aesthetic traditions.