Melville on the Island

by magnus26

Just had the great pleasure of hearing Nathaniel Philbrick lecture on Melville. A great meditation on creativity, writing, etc. Inspired to go back to “Bartleby the Scrivener” as well as the formidable Moby Dick and companion pieces, Billy Budd and so forth.

Philbrick has the gift of making it all so accessible. I really appreciate the fact that he gets (what I always suspected was) Melville’s great sense of humor. His take — that the book, written a decade just before the civil war, often enjoys a resurgence during trying times, the first one just after World War I, because it is a work about cataclysm, foreboding, crucible.