Herman Melville and the American Calling: The Fiction After Moby-Dick, 1851-1857

Herman Melville and the American Calling: The Fiction After Moby-Dick, 1851-1857
Author: William V. Spanos
Language English
Pages: 280
ISBN10: 0791475646
Genre: Criticism
Goodreads Rating: 4.50
ISBN13: 9780791475645
Published: July 1st 2009 by State University of New York Press

Oriented by the new Americanist perspective, this book constitutes a rereading of Herman Melville's most prominent fiction after Moby-Dick. In contrast to prior readings of this fiction, William V. Spanos's interpretation takes as its point of departure the theme of spectrality precipitated by the metaphor of orphanage--disaffiliation from the symbolic fatherland, on the one hand, and the myth of American exceptionalism on the other--that emerged as an abiding motif in Melville's creative imagination.

This book voices an original argument about Melville's status as an "American" writer, and foregrounds Melville's remarkable anticipation and critique of the exceptionalism that continues to drive American policy in the post-9/11 era.