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.


"In a Bye-Canal" by Herman Melville is a poem from the "Fruit of Travel Long Ago" section of Timoleon, a book of poems Melville published privately in 1891 with the Caxton Press in an edition of 25 copies. Timoleon was the last book Melville published. Enjoy this Italian translation read by Susanna Poole. The Italian text is provided below.

In un canale secondario
Herman Melville

Languor di mezzodì, flutti incantati,
come bonaccia al largo del Perù
la siesta silenziosa si diffonde.
Niun altro errante sui silenti rii,
meriggio muto come quella notte
spettrale in cui Giaele l’oste uccise.

Vogando in tagio, un colpo fiacco al remo
dà il gondoliere, con mano indolente;
batte la pala ad un palazzo antico
e inaspettata s’ode una risposta!
Una persiana scatta, e che ti vedo?
di tra le stecche muti mi richiamano
quali occhi di bellezza scintillanti!
Sguardo di basilisco incantatore!

Ho corso di perigli la mia parte,
di rischi naturali e d’uom le insidie,
Io ho nuotato, io mi son trovato
della balena presso i neri lobi
e alle pinne bianche dello squalo.
Ho errato nei deserti del nemico
e nel voltarmi scorto alle mie spalle
Calunnia e Invidia, mano in man, lebbrose
che senza alcun rumore mi seguivano –
Sì, e altro ancor. Ma a quel celato sguardo
“Ehi, gondoliere, stai dormendo? Via!
Or svègliati!” e virando noi fuggimmo.
E riflettevo: dei Naturalisti
la tesi questo confuta, nevvero?
Esiston le sirene, eccome no?!
Sirene che nel mar sono in agguato.

E se tali fatali signorine
ti fan la corte, è vile chi ne scappa?
Ma no! il divino Ulisse fuggì via,
lui prode, savio e figliuolo di Venere

Translation by Gordon Poole

In a Bye-Canal
Herman Melville

A swoon of noon, a trance of tide,
The hushed siesta brooding wide
    Like calms far off Peru;
No floating wayfarer in sight,
Dumb noon, and haunted like the night
    When Jael the wiled one slew.

A languid impulse from the oar
Plied by my indolent gondolier
Tinkles against a palace hoar,
    And, hark, response I hear!
A lattice clicks; and lo, I see
Between the slats, mute summoning me,
What loveliest eyes of scintillation,
What basilisk glance of conjuration!

    Fronted I have, part taken the span
Of portents in nature and peril in man.
I have swum—I have been
'Twixt the whale's black flukes and the white shark's fin;
The enemy's desert have wandered in,
And there have turned, have turned and scanned,
Following me how noiselessly,
Envy and Slander, lepers hand in hand.
All this.  But at the latticed eye—
"Hey!  Gondolier, you sleep, my man;
Wake up!"  And, shooting by, we ran;
The while I mused, This, surely now,
Confutes the Naturalists, allow!
Sirens, true sirens verily be,
Sirens, waylayers in the sea.

Well, wooed by these same deadly misses,
    Is it shame to run?
No! flee them did divine Ulysses,
    Brave, wise, and Venus' son.


"In a Bye-Canal" by Herman Melville is a poem from the "Fruit of Travel Long Ago" section of Timoleon, a book of poems Melville published privately in 1891 with the Caxton Press in an edition of 25 copies. Timoleon was the last book Melville published. Enjoy this moving, heart-felt reading by Gordon Poole.

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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.