African Culture and Melville's Art: The Creative Process in Benito Cereno and Moby-Dick

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en Limba Engleză Carte Paperback – 10 Feb 2011
Although Herman Melville's masterworks Moby-Dick and Benito Cereno have long been the subject of vigorous scholarly examination, the impact of African culture on these works has received surprisingly little critical attention. Presenting a groundbreaking reappraisal of these two powerful pieces of fiction, Sterling Stuckey reveals how African customs and rituals heavily influenced one of America's greatest novelists.The Melville that emerges in this innovative, intertextual study is one profoundly shaped by the vibrant African-influenced music and dance culture of nineteenth-century America. Drawing on extensive research, Stuckey reveals how celebrations of African culture by black Americans, such as the Pinkster festival and the Ring Shout dance form, permeated Melville's environs during his formative years and found their way into his finest fiction. Also demonstrated is the extent to which the author ofMoby-Dick is indebted to Frederick Douglass's depiction of music, especially the blues, in his classic slave narrative. Connections between Melville's work and African culture are also extended beyond America to the African continent itself. With readings of hitherto unexplored chapters in Delano'sVoyages and Travels in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and other nonfiction sources—such as Joseph Dupuis's Journal of a Residence in Ashantee —Stuckey links Benito Cereno and Moby-Dick , pinpointing the sources from which Melville drew to fashion major characters that appear aboard both the Pequod and the San Dominick .Combining inventive literary and historical analysis, Stuckey shows how myriad aspects of African culture coalesced to create the unique vision conveyed in Moby-Dick and Benito Cereno. Ultimately, African Culture and Melville's Art provides a wealth of insight into the novelist's expressive power and the development of his distinct cross-cultural aesthetic.
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ISBN-13: 9780199768561
ISBN-10: 0199768560
Pagini: 168
Dimensiuni: 156 x 235 x 9 mm
Greutate: 0.26 kg
Editura: Oxford University Press
Colecția OUP USA
Locul publicării: New York, United States


Revisiting Melville's New York and Albany neighborhoods, Sterling Stuckey has given us a stunning reconstruction of the genesis of Moby-Dick and Benito Cereno. His Melville is an 'Africanist' in the best sense: in frequent contact with Ashantee culture, and inspired by the music and dance of the slaves to forge his own poetics of cheer and gloom.
In African Culture and Melville's Art, Sterling Stuckey brings his extraordinary talents as a historian and critic to bear on Herman Melville, and in the process he gives us brilliant and original readings of Moby-Dick, Benito Cereno, and Melville's world. It is a stunning achievement and should be required reading for anyone interested in American culture.
Studying Melville's artful treatment of Douglass, Dupuis, Delano, and Bowditch, Professor Stuckey expands and deepens our knowledge of Melville's creative employment of African culture in Benito Cereno and Moby-Dick. Stuckey's book is full of discoveries along freshly mapped paths that invite our further investigation.
Our greatest scholar of African American culture finds a kindred spirit in our greatest nineteenth-century novelist. If you want to know how African the roots of American culture are, from the blues to Melville, this marvelous, adventuresome and elegant book is for you.
With the eloquence of a poet and the erudition of a scholar, historian Sterling Stuckey employs cross-disciplinary methods in this brilliant analysis of the African sources and intertextual resonances in Herman Melville's oeuvre. This definitive study deepens our understanding of the writer's creative genius

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Sterling Stuckey is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at University Of California, Riverside. He is the author of the groundbreaking studies Slave Culture: Nationalist Theory and the Foundations of Black America and Going through the Storm: The Influence of African American Art in History, both published by Oxford University Press.