Melville's Philosophies (Hardcover)
This book offers the excellent opportunity to reconsider an author that we all think we know. Arsić and Evans have a brilliant introduction that not only situates how philosophers have discussed Melville in the past but also lays the ground for considering Melville himself as a philosopher. These ideas get worked out in excellent chapters that look at Melville in surprising and revelatory ways, like Rachel Cole's "The Lawyer's Tale," or through different interlocutors like Paul Grimstad's exploration of Leos Carax's film adaptation of Pierre.
-- Adam— From Adam F. Staff Picks
Melville's Philosophies departs from a long tradition of critical assessments of Melville that dismissed his philosophical capacities as ingenious but muddled. Its contributors do not apply philosophy to Melville in order to detect just how much of it he knew or understood. To the contrary, they try to hear the philosophical arguments themselves-often very strange and quite radical-that Melville never stopped articulating and reformulating. What emerges is a Melville who is materialistically oriented in a radical way, a Melville who thinks about life forms not just in the context of contemporary sciences but also ontologically. Melville's Philosophies recovers a Melville who is a thinker of great caliber, which means obliquely but dramatically reversing the way the critical tradition has characterized his ideas. Finally, as a result of the readings collected here, Melville emerges as a very relevant thinker for contemporary philosophical concerns, such as the materialist turn, climate change, and post-humanism.
About the Author
Branka Arsic is Charles and Lynn Zhang Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, USA. She is the author of Bird Relics, Grief and Vitalism in Thoreau (Harvard, 2015), On Leaving, A Reading in Emerson (2010), Passive Constitutions or 71/2 Times Bartleby (2007). She is co-editor (with Cary Wolfe) of The Other Emerson: New Approaches, Divergent Paths (2010) and editor of The American Impersonal (Bloomsbury Academic, 2014). K. L. Evans is Visiting Scholar in the Department of English at Cornell University, USA. Previously she was Associate Professor of Literature and Philosophy at Yeshiva University in New York City. She is the author of Whale! (2003) and One Foot in the Finite: Melville's Realism Reclaimed (forthcoming 2017).