The Cambridge Companion to Herman Melville by Robert S. Levine

By Robert S. Levine

The recent Cambridge spouse to Herman Melville presents well timed, severe essays on Melville's vintage works. The essays were specifically commissioned for this quantity and supply an entire review of Melville's profession. Melville's significant novels are mentioned, besides a number of his brief fiction and poetry, together with missed works ripe for rediscovery. the quantity comprises essays on such new issues as Melville and oceanic reports, Melville and animal experiences, and Melville and the planetary, besides a few essays that target shape and aesthetics. Written at a degree either tough and obtainable, this New spouse brings jointly a crew of best foreign students to provide scholars of yankee literature the main finished creation to be had to Melville's paintings.

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Unable to obtain a standard navy-blue jacket, the narrator repeatedly tries to requisition some black paint in order to waterproof his garment and to change its "complexion" to a "dark hue" closer to that of his comrades (78, 120). Again and again, his request is denied by the first lieutenant. The resonant joke here is that White-Jacket wishes to darken his skin so that he can conform to the appearance of the majority. The darker color will protect him and enable him to assimilate. Yet the narrator is unable to change his color and remains subject to the abuse of his peers.

It's either you or me, he warns his skin. "Jacket! " (334). His skin defines and endangers his character. The name of his skin is, after all, the name of his character - the only name he has - and the name of his story. White-Jacket tells the story of the struggle of a man with and in his skin. " White-Jacket's cutaneous dispute in "The 29 Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006 SAMUEL OTTER Jacket Aloft" ends in a draw. His request for black paint is again refused by the first lieutenant, and he dons the white jacket once more.

4 This was part of the cultural world of New Yorkers, who had little inclination to deny that the music of blacks was substantially different from that of white Americans. The Wilberforce Society was known to march with its own band, and its style of marching in 1825 did not substantially differ from what it was before or following the celebration of that year. " 5 38 Cambridge Companions Online © Cambridge University Press, 2006 THE TAMBOURINE IN GLORY The 5 5 Cortlandt address was but a ten-minute walk from City Hall and the Commons, the latter a staging area for parades and for celebrations like Pinkster.

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