Honors | Herman Melville (HON)
H303 | 27326 | Gareth Evans
One third of the course will be an intensive study of Moby-Dick. Our
reading of that novel, and of the other fiction we read, will
combine old-school source study with an examination of what Melville
and his critics have had to say about such issues as race, class,
gender, sexuality, colonialism, and ecology. Before we read Moby-
Dick, we’ll read Melville’s first, and most popular, novel, Typee.
After spring break, we’ll read two of Melville’s most highly-praised
tales, “Paradise of Bachelors and Tartarus of Maids” and “The
Encantadas,” as well as the best known of his three short novels:
Bartleby, The Scrivener, Benito Cereno, and Billy Budd. We will
read primary and secondary sources as we read Melville. That
reading should give you some sense of Melville’s work in its
literary and historical context. We will also be concerned with the
ethical, moral, and political issues addressed in Melville’s work.
A final note: some people find Melville a difficult read. He is not
a writer who provides simple answers, and often he’s a writer who
provides no answers at all. While many think Moby-Dick is a great
novel, others would be happy to see all its copies sink to the
bottom of the sea. If you expect the novel to give you an American
version of “ho-ho-ho and a bottle of rum,” this is not the course
for you. If you’re willing to explore Melville’s open-ended, free-
form, mixed-genre fiction, you’re welcome to take the class.
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick: An Authoritative Text (Norton Critical
Herman Melville, Melville’s Short Novels. (Norton Critical Edition)
Herman Melville, Typee. (Riverside Edition)
•Option one: three essays of 6-8 typed, double-spaced pages in
length. The first essay will be on Typee; the second essay will
examine one chapter of Moby-Dick in relationship to the rest of the
novel; the third essay will be on one of the tales we read after
Spring Break. Option two: two essays. The first essay will be 6-8
typed, double-spaced pages in length and will examine one chapter of
Moby-Dick in relationship to the rest of the novel; the second essay
will be 10-12 pages in length and may discuss any one or more of the
texts we read in the class. 80% of the final grade
•Attendance and participation in discussion and in-class activities.
Five formal responses to questions posted at Oncourse. Your
responses will often provide the base for class discussion. 10% of
the final grade.
•A graded exercise designed to display your ability to find and use
information in IUCAT, WorldCat, Online Full-Text Journals, C 19, the
Early American Fiction project, and the online Modern Language
Association International Bibliography. 10% of the final grade.