Tag Archives: Melville

Frank Stella, Agha Shahid Ali: Moby-Dick into ghazals

Feb 20, 2014 Stella’s “Fedallah” isn’t anything like Melville’s: not the “tiger-yellow” apparition “with one white tooth evilly protruding from its steel-like lips,” but a fluid, dancing figure, with some dark streaks and shadows, it’s true, but otherwise resplendent, impressive. … Continue reading

Posted in abstract expressionism, adaptation, Arabic, Classics, Middle East, Modern art, Near Eastern poetry, Poetry, twentieth century art, Twentieth century literature | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Octopus for Christmas

December 25, 2013 No, not salmon, that eminently respectable candidate for a fishetarian dinner.  Octopus instead, still exotic and dubious-looking in this part of the world, but a common food staple in Japan and throughout the Mediterranean: in Spain, Portugal, … Continue reading

Posted in Animals, epic, Food in literature, Global South, oceans, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Charles Olson: Call Me Ishmael

January 25, 2012 In the early 1930s, while writing his Master’s thesis on Melville, Charles Olson began tracking down the books once owned by Melville, some with significant marginalia.  Melville’s widow had sold almost 500 of these books to a … Continue reading

Posted in epic, Experimental poetry, Handwritten script, Media, Nineteenth-century literature, Renaissance literature, Twentieth century literature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Two-Way Street

January 18, 2012 Alex Steele never took a class from me.    I don’t think I’d ever seen her around the department.  But my colleague, Richard Deming, who was going to direct her senior essay, is away on a Fellowship … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary Art, Egypt, Nineteenth-century literature, print medium, Remediation, Translation | Tagged , , , , , , | 161 Comments

Agha Shahid Ali’s “Call me Ishmael Tonight”

January 4, 2012 This was his last book of poems, published posthumously.   Agha Shahid Agha had died of brain cancer on December 8, 2001. How important was Moby-Dick to the Kashmiri poet?  Probably less than what Melvilleans would like to … Continue reading

Posted in Islam, lyric, Near Eastern poetry, Nineteenth-century literature, Remediation, Translation, Twentieth century literature, world literature, World religions | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 62 Comments

Melville in the Dominican Republic

December 14, 2011 As far I know, he never set foot there.   But then a physical journey is not always necessary. Junot Diaz is not shy about naming names — The Brief Wondrous Life of  Oscar Wao is almost … Continue reading

Posted in epic, Global South, Nineteenth-century literature, Spanglish, Translation, world literature | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments