Reading Group Schedule: 7 Weeks
Meeting #1: Introduction. Just have your text with you.
Context: Melville’s Bio — the financial ruin of the family — Allan’s madness & death — Herman’s adventures — Herman’s beginnings as a writer — Influence of Hawthorne — Herman’s ultimate commercial failure & disappointment
Discussion: Reading aloud of Etymology & Extracts as the casting of a spell — discussion of the importance of letting text wash over you / not trying to catch everything — presentation of tracking project (everyone tracks something through the reading of the text)
Meeting #2: Ch. 1 (Loomings) – Ch. 23 (The Lee Shore)
Context: Melville’s letters to Hawthorne as a way of talking about friendship
- “I felt a melting in me.” (52) / Ishmael’s moods & friendship with Queequeg / alliteration and assonance & mood in Moby-Dick
- The Sermon & The Lee Shore / Truth vs. Safety
- “…there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast” (53) / weather inside & weather outside
Meeting #3: Ch. 24 (The Advocate) – Ch. 42 (The Whiteness of the Whale)
Context: Hawthorne and His Mosses — Toni Morrison on “Whiteness of the Whale”
- “federated along one keel” (101) / who is on this ship and why?
- “God keep me from ever completing anything.” (118) / what can and can’t be known for sure? / “problem of the universe” (128)
- Ahab & The Quarter-Deck / who is in control?
- Moby Dick & Whiteness / problems of metaphor: what means what?