The Melville Reading Group is a student-run ad hoc summer reading group that intends to read all of Herman Melville's fiction.
The goal of this reading group is to provide a reading experience that is both more specific and broader than the reading curriculae of standard course work. Reading a single author's entire oeuvre allows students to focus on the significance of each text in light of the full trajectory of an author's literary life while also allowing students to read each text as it might cross chronological, generic, and geographic boundaries. The aim of such a specific and broad reading experience is to avoid reading only an author's "greatest" works or only texts that exemplify certain easy categorizations accepted by the profession.
The plan is to read all of Melville's novels first, in chronological order. We will hold an informal discussion for each novel to share ideas, interpretations, theories, questions, background information (history, biography, etc.) and to compare the novels themselves.
Reading Calendar Edit
The no-longer-tentative reading schedule! The doctor says: read 51 pages of Melville daily.
|May 15 - 20||Typee|
|May 21 - 26||Omoo|
|May 27 - June 8||Mardi|
|June 9 - 15||Redburn|
|June 16 - 23||White-Jacket|
|June 24 - July 6||Moby-Dick|
|July 7 - 14||Pierre|
|July 15 - 18||Israel Potter|
|July 28 - August 1||The Confidence-Man|
The calendar is adjusted to take into consideration the relative lengths of each novel. There is a break before the last novel for the week in Taos, New Mexico. There are seventy reading days, which is the equivalent of ten weeks. The journey averages fifty-one pages per day and ends on Melville's 190th birthday!
The intuitive way to schedule the discussions is to meet the day after the last reading day for each novel. For example, the discussion of Typee will occur on May 21, since its last reading day is May 20 (with an exception made for Melville's birthday party discussion). At the moment, we will plan to meet for discussions on the following days:
|July 19||Israel Potter|
|August 1||The Confidence-Man|
There will inevitably be days that work better or worse for meetings, and so the above discussion schedule is only a loose suggestion. The location and time will be determined as each discussion day approaches.
Edition of the Texts Edit
The Melville Reading Group has decided to use Herman Melville: Complete Fiction and Other Prose Works as a standard edition. This Library of America edition contains Melville's complete fiction in three volumes.
For a new copy, it is an investment ($95), but cheaper used (and some new) copies are available on Amazon.com for $15-$20 per volume.
Joining the Melville Reading Group Edit
Please submit your application and a 10,000 word essay to. . . Hmm. We welcome anyone to join us, for any number of the novels, for any amount of time, with any edition.