By Harold Bloom
Means that Melville's rejection of biblical theology reveals robust expression all through all of his later fictional prose and his verse. This name gathers jointly a number of the feedback at the works of Melville, together with Moby-Dick, Typee, Omoo, The Piazza stories, and Benito Cereno.
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Extra info for Herman Melville (Bloom's Modern Critical Views)
Stern indeterminate continuations of history, as repetitive and as illuminating of human limitation as the great shroud of the sea that rolls on as it did five thousand years ago. The totalistic critical view makes demands and meanings that entirely subvert and are deaf to the despairing tone of the tale as well as to its indeterminateness. It is precisely at the point of turning everyone into Bartleby, which for Widmer would be the salvation of the revolution accomplished, that Melville draws back—the same Melville who looks askance at romantic and nihilistic versions of history and the human essence; the same Melville who says that if oysters and champagne are the foods of the body, get you your oysters and champagne; the same Melville who warmly sees the inescapable necessity of the lee shore for all that is kindly to our mortalities even as he urges Bulkington to keep the open independence of his soul’s sea from the lee shore’s lawyer-like slavish and shallow copy-assumptions; the same Melville who would repudiate the mast-head visions in order to ameliorate the ship’s course with the first hint of the hitching tiller; the same Melville who has Ishmael learn that man must eventually learn to lower or at least shift his conceit of attainable felicity.
290), which entraps the unwary with the seductive sweetness of its thought. In the next year, it would also tie in with the expansive brow and cool disposition of Plotinus Plinlimmon in Pierre, though the tone of Melville’s irony then will have become considerably darker and more caustic. Tashtego’s fall into the “Platonian” head recalls Ishmael’s earlier admonition to “young Platonists” (M-D, p. 139), that they need beware of losing themselves in a reverie over “that deep, blue, bottomless soul, pervading mankind and nature” lest they return with a misstep to the cold, mechanically indifferent material world of “Descartian vortices” and drop into the sea, “no more to rise for ever” (M-D, p.
Although he may have been too busy writing Redburn and White-Jacket during that spring and summer to become drowsy over Browne, Bayle, and Plato, evidence abounds that he had read all three well before sending The Whale to press, soon after his letter to Hawthorne was written. Particularly relevant in the letter to Duyckinck is that all three of those writers looked upon Being as one or more principles of existence. 4 That he was reading the Phaedo at this time is especially noteworthy because in that dialogue “more than elsewhere, Plato preaches withdrawal from the world.
Herman Melville (Bloom's Modern Critical Views) by Harold Bloom