Skip Course Information

Course Information

Instructor Info:Michele Hardesty
Office Extension x5490
Term: 2013S
Meeting Info: Monday Wednesday
06:00 PM - 07:20 PM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 104
06:00 PM - 07:20 PM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 104

Moby-Dick, that hard-to-classify novel about Captain Ahab’s mad search for the White Whale, took its own long voyage to arrive at a position in the canon of U.S. literature. Poorly received when it was published in 1851, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick did not begin to gain its current status until the early 20th century. This course will follow Moby-Dick’s voyage(s): we will begin with an intensive reading of the novel itself and explore its 19th century contexts. Then we will examine three moments of the novel's afterlife in the 20th and 21st centuries: the 1920s, the Cold War (focusing on full-length treatments by C.L.R. James and Charles Olson), and the “War on Terror.” The last part of the course will consider the multitudinous ways in which Moby-Dick continues to be adapted and transformed in film, comics, visual art, and literary narrative.

This is a course not only about Melville’s novel but also about U.S. literary canon formation, the cultures of U.S. empire, race and the construction of American identities, and the politics of adaptation.