Hunting Captain Ahab : psychological warfare and the Melville revival /
Clare L. Spark.
Kent, Ohio : Kent State University Press, c2001.
x, 730 p. : ill.
0873386744 (alk. paper)
More Details
Kent, Ohio : Kent State University Press, c2001.
0873386744 (alk. paper)
general note
Based on the author's thesis (Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1993).
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2001-11-01:
Spark's impressive achievement in literary and sociopolitical research radiates outward from a primary character (Moby-Dick's Captain Ahab) to encompass a wide range of critical issues. Spark looks at Ahab's symbolic (critical) significance over time--taking into account the "Melville revival" of the early 20th century and Melville's other writings; Melville's genius and his mental problems; leading Melville scholars (Henry A. Murray, Jay Leyda, Raymond Weaver, Charles Olson, et al.); Hitler and public attitudes toward Jews over the centuries; the New Deal and America's class conflicts; and recent efforts of multiculturalists wishing to denigrate classic American literature. Including extensive notes and bibliography, Spark's meticulous study should appeal both to Melville scholars and to academic and general readers not primarily concerned with Melville's career and hard times. Though her political distinctions (corporatists versus empiricists, radical enlightenment versus conservative enlightenment, etc.) seem directed largely to specialists, the book deserves consideration for a major literary award. Upper-division undergraduates and above. S. I. Bellman emeritus, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Appeared in Library Journal on 2001-06-01:
Based on Spark's 1993 dissertation, The Melville Revival, 1919-1953 (UCLA), this complex work threads together two areas of study. Spark incorporates a significant amount of research to establish both the environment Melville wrote in and the path taken in the 20th century by Melville studies, which were much affected by the changing political atmosphere. Unlike most Melville criticism, this work integrates political, economic, and social history with standard literary criticism. While Spark provides a close reading of the later works (Moby-Dick, Pierre, and Clarel) and traces similar themes through them, her main focus is 20th-century criticism. The strength of the work is her ability to provide an appealing intellectual history of the early to mid-1900s as she follows the development of Melville studies through the political flux of this century. For academic libraries. Paolina Taglienti, Long Island Univ. Lib., Brooklyn, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, June 2001
Choice, November 2001
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Unpaid Annotation
In this provocative and vigorously argued interdisciplinary study of the development of institutional censorship, Clare Spark explores the complexities of 20th-century American cultural politics through the protagonists of the Melville Revival. She investigates closely the history of the Revival and its key critics, who manipulated Melville's life and writings in the service of their own particular social and political agendas. Although often boldly conjectural and speculative, Spark's assertions are based on her meticulous and thorough exploration of either newly opened or previously unexplored archival materials of leading Melville scholars -- Raymond Weaver, Charles Olson, Henry A. Murray, and Jay Leyda.In addressing the distinction between what she calls the radical and conservative Enlightenment -- the conservative masquerading as progressive its attempt to reconcile scientific truth and social order -- Spark makes her way through Melville's often confusing and contradictory texts and examines the disputes within Melville scholarship, which often center on the mesmerizing figure of Ahab as either a democratic hero or a totalitarian dictator, corresponding to the rival epistemologies of modern society.The manner in which Spark deals with these subjects may startle specialists in Melville and literary scholarship; at the same time this book is accessible to the general reader, to one who may have no prior knowledge of Melville, his life and works, or even an acquaintance with literary criticism.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 3
The Moderate Response to Nineteenth-Century Radicalism "american Literature" and the Progressivesp. 30
The Fatal Line Who Was Isabel? What Was His Problem?p. 81
Melville and the Radical Puritansp. 139
The Modern Artist as Red Specter "an Irruption of Heretic Thought Hard to Suppress"p. 181
The Boulevard of Broken Dreams Raymond M. Weaver and the Melville Revival, 1919-1935p. 205
Pluralism in One Perfectly Happy Family, 1926-1953 a Peep at Apes and Angelsp. 239
A Change of Clowns Film Noir Phasing Out the Weaver Synthesisp. 327
White Rot in the Melville Industryp. 385
After the Revolution the Racial Discourse of Ethnopluralismp. 432
Appendix: Repunctuating the Melville Revival a New Map, a Pause, and a Tour Through the Archivesp. 453
Notesp. 565
Selected Bibliographyp. 695
Indexp. 715
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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