Symposium: Melville On Nantucket

Nantucket Historical Association
August 14, 2019 @ 8:30 am – 12:00 pm

In celebration of Herman Melville’s 200th birthday, join us for a morning of lectures on Melville the person and his lasting effect with his writings.

Reading of shared passages from NHA Log books & Moby-Dick with Harvey Young and Caleb Kardell.

In 1998 a project was initiated to extract data for entry into its data bank from Nantucket whaling logs held by the archives.  A volunteer, Leslie Ottinger, reviewed many of these.  He was knowledgeable about Melville’s Moby Dick and found that many observations and events in the book were also mentioned in the logs.  The materials in this presentation was compiled from his observations.

Herman Melville: Sailor, Writer, Metaphysician with Dr. Mary K. Bercaw Edwards

Dr. Mary K. Bercaw Edwards is an Associate Professor of English and Maritime Studies Faculty at the University of Connecticut. An internationally-known Herman Melville scholar, she serves as an editor for Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies. She is the author of Melville’s Sources and Cannibal Old Me: Spoken Sources in Melville’s Early Works and the co-editor of Wilson Heflin, Herman Melville’s Whaling Years. Dr. Bercaw Edwards spends her summers working high aloft on Mystic Seaport Museum’s square-rigged ships. She was a crewmember on the 38th Voyage of the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan. A Coast Guard-licensed captain, she has 58,000 miles at sea, all under sail.


Nostalgia for the Wooden World:  Rockwell Kent’s Moby-Dick with Dr. Jamie Jones

The 1930 Lakeside Press edition of Moby-Dick illustrated by American artist Rockwell Kent is arguably the most famous and best-loved edition of Melville’s famous novel. In this talk, Jamie Jones surveys the career and work of American artist Rockwell Kent and tells the story of how Kent created his iconic illustrations at a pivotal moment in the history of print technology and U.S. commercial whaling. Jones also connects the artistic strategies that Kent used in making the Moby-Dick illustrations to 21st-century trends in technology and design and reflects on the unlikely way that Kent’s illustrations can help us better understand our own values about work, leisure, and the sea.

Dr. Jamie L. Jones is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies from Harvard University. She has published academic articles on American literature and culture in American Art,  ConfigurationsCommon-place, and Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities. In addition to her academic work, Jones has written about whaling in The New York Times and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Her research on Herman Melville was recently featured on the BBC World New Service and on the BackStory American history podcast. Jones is currently writing a book about the cultural afterlife of U.S. whaling.

The Enduring Power of Moby-Dick with Nathaniel Philbrick