The Melville Society is dedicated to the study and appreciation of the nineteenth-century American author Herman Melville, writer of Typee, Moby-Dick, and Billy Budd, such short stories as “Bartleby” and “Benito Cereno,” and several volumes of poetry, including Battle-Pieces and the epic Clarel
We publish the award-winning journal Leviathan which all members receive three times a year and which offers scholarly articles, book and art reviews, Society news, and Melville-related events. Membership is open to all. For information about Leviathan and joining The Melville Society click here.

The Eaton Portrait

Herman Melville JOEaton 95ppi 250wBy permission of Houghton Library, Harvard University: 61Z-4

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Melville Electronic Library

mel-thumb-crpd-3The Melville Electronic Library is an online resource for Melville texts. Housed on a Hofstra University server, MEL is being developed and maintained by a group of Melville scholars and digital specialists.

Johns Hopkins University Press

jhup-logoTo join the Melvillle Society and subscribe to Leviathan, visit Leviathan's Johns Hopkins University Press journal site by clicking here.

Melville Society Cultural Project

Melville Society and New Bedford Whaling Museum Cultural Project The New Bedford Whaling Museum in collaboration with The Melville Society is the established home of the Melville Society Cultural Project and Melville Society Archive. The Melville Society Archive is housed at the New Bedford Whaling Museum's Research Library, where significant works from this collection are also on display. The Melville Society Cultural Project also sponsors a book donation program and presents exciting annual events including the Moby-Dick Marathon and a Birthday Lecture.

Herman Melville's Arrowhead

BHS FB HM portraitHerman Melville's Arrowhead Facebook Group page of the Berkshire Historical Society. Celebrating historical Berkshire County and Herman Melville's Arrowhead, the farm and home where Melville lived while writing Moby-Dick.

American Literature Association

Call for Papers – Three Panels

29th Annual Conference
May 24-27, 2018

San Francisco Hyatt Regency 

SF Hyatt ALA 2018

Click here for the ALA 2018 Conference Registration Website

Panel 1: Herman Melville and the Emergence of Trumpism

In 2011, both Seth Meyers and President Obama made several jokes about Donald Trump during the White House Correspondents Dinner. From his involvement in the Miss USA pageant and reality television to his fragile relationship with communities of color, no area from Trump's brash and ostentatious lifestyle was, for several minutes that evening, off limits. However, by November 8, 2016, the very areas that the former president and Meyers poked fun at, in part, were the very areas that aided Trump in becoming the next president of the United States.

Trumpism is a term coined to capture the emergence of the radical branch of Republicanism responsible for Trump's unorthodox journey to the White House. Given the relevance of American political values in Herman Melville's major works, this panel seeks papers that undertake the ways that Melville's publications address some of the enduring issues that have fueled Trump's presidency. What can Melville's art add to discussions in our historical moment relating to America's political landscape and president? Topics may include but are not restricted to gender; traditionalism; classism; race; mass-immigration; surveillance; white nationalism; monument removal; the rise of the alt-right; sexism; birtherism; fake news.

To propose a paper, please submit a 250-word abstract and a 100-word bio to James Noel (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) by January 26, 2018.

Panel 2: Melville in the Anthropocene (sponsored by the Melville Society and ASLE)

Kathryn Yusoff’s recent work on anthropogenesis and Timothy Clark’s Ecocriticism on the Edge exemplify two critical tendencies, two senses of the idea of the Anthropocene. Clark argues that the Anthropocene “names a newly recognized context that entails a chastening recognition of the limits of cultural representation as a force of change in human affairs, as compared to the numerous economic, meteorological, geographical and microbiological factors and population dynamics, as well as scale effects” (Ecocriticism 21). This scalar gap is, for Clark, “crucial to defining the eventhood of the Anthropocene as a threshold concept. The predatory supremacy of global neoliberal capitalism would represent a further, exploitative intensification of this scalar disjunctiveness …as a way of gaining power over human and nonhuman others” (Ecocriticism 151).

Yusoff draws on the work of Donna Haraway and Elizabeth Grosz to account for what is problematic in the idea of the Anthropocene itself as a means to critique the exploitative intensification it identifies. It contains “a form of Anthropogenesis a new origin story and ontics for man that radically rewrites material modes of differentiation and concepts of life, from predominantly biopolitical notions of life toward an understanding of life’s geophysical origination” suggesting “a more nuanced notion of ‘geological life’” (3) but also a reinscription of human as Man and Man as world-maker, obfuscating “climate racism, social injustice in fossil fuels, and differentiated histories of responsibility through homogenization in a ‘we’ of the Anthropocene” (7). Ultimately, Yusoff suggests we “stay with the ‘promise’ of the Anthropocene as the configuring of an epochal moment of planetary thought, despite, and possibly because of all the explicit problems that make … [it]… an easy target and malleable term” (8).

This panel welcomes papers that engage with any sense of the "malleable term" that the Anthropocene has become. Here we welcome theoretical work that engages with Melville's texts or readings of Melville that respond to the wide range of topics that are linked to the anthropocene: from climate, ecology, energy, geology, and meteorology to posthumanism, materialism, and broader questions of scale.

Please send abstracts (one page or less) and CVs to Dr. Helena Feder (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Meredith Farmer (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) by January 20th.

Panel 3: Bartleby Now

High-spectrum; Refusenik; Divinity. This panel proposes to think about “Bartleby Now,” taking up what continental philosophers and American literary critics alike have long grappled with as the limit-case of the human. We are particularly interested in how cognitive approaches to literature shape our return to this text and figure. In light of Amit Pinchevski’s 2011 assessment of “Bartleby’s Autism” and Agamben’s still resonant reading of Melville’s scrivener as a subject of “pure, absolute potentiality,” what does a critical and, indeed, popular attachment to Bartleby mean today? We ask that panelists take more of a roundtable approach by hazarding some broadly philosophical conjectures about what Bartleby is or might still be. An interdisciplinary angle is welcome in theorizing and defining what our Bartleby Problem is now.

For consideration, please submit an abstract of 250-300 words to Wendy Lee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by January 22, 2018.


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Fellowships and Scholarships

Melville Society Archive
Walter E. Bezanson Fellowship
The Melville Society, under the auspices of the Melville Society Cultural Project in New Bedford, offers an annual fellowship to help a scholar undertake research on Herman Melville at the Society’s Archive in the Research Library of the Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts.


Click here for more information and application details.


New York Public Library
Short-term Research Fellowships


Graduate students or other affiliated academics whose work would benefit from visiting the Manuscripts and Archives Division to view collections such as the Gansevoort-Lansing collection, and Duyckinck family papers are encouraged to apply.


Click here for more information and application details.

From Our Photo Collections

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Woodlawn Cemetary

WoodlawnWoodlawn Cemetary - final resting place of Herman, his wife, Elizabeth, and other family members. Click here to view photos of the gravesites.

125th Anniversary Celebration

125th Woodlawn

A celebration of Melville's life at Woodlawn Cemetary on the 125th anniversary of his passing.

Lansingburgh Historical Society

Melville House

Melville lived for nine years in this Lansingburgh house. It was here that he wrote Typee and Omoo

Berkshire Historical Society

ArrowheadMelville's Arrowhead home and farm in Pittsfield, MA where he wrote Moby-Dick and lived for most of the 1850s.