Dates (Mondays and Thursdays Only): June 21, June 24, June 28, July 1, July 8, July 12, July 15, July 19, July 22, July 26 (No July 5)
Time: 3:30–5:00 p.m. (15 hours)
Instructor: Michael Schwartz
We will read and discuss the entirety of Moby-Dick using an approach that is as multi-angled as possible because that's precisely what the novel's polymath author, Herman Melville, was trying to do: to explore intellectually (or, "nerd out") on a particular subject (in this case, the concept of "the whale") in as many ways as he could. Captain Ahab's quest for Moby-Dick is parallel to the narrator Ishmael's own philosophical quest for understanding, as the latter delves into the mystery of our relationships with ourselves, each other, the world, and various conceptions of God. We will consider such areas of study as psychology, religion, metaphysics, ethics, myth, science, politics, class, economics, gender, race, and sexuality, and will think about the place of this 1851 novel in pre-Civil War United States Literature. Additionally, we will examine the ways Melville's ambitiously-experimental writing style crosses the boundaries between fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction, and how it straddles the artistic schools of romanticism, realism, naturalism, modernism, and postmodernism. Other topics may include Melville's humor; his life; the novel's popular and critical reception; the special influence of Milton, Shakespeare, and Hawthorne on the novel; the place of the novel in Melville's larger body of work; Melville and the visual arts; and the other areas of interest in Melville studies today. Recent KPS graduates are welcome to take the class.