Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Herman Melville and the Politics of the Inhuman


  • Date Published: February 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108420921

£ 75.00

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Studies of the writing of Herman Melville are often divided among those that address his political, historical, or biographical dimensions and those that offer creative theoretical readings of his texts. In Herman Melville and the Politics of the Inhuman, Michael Jonik offers a series of nuanced and ambitious philosophical readings of Melville that unite these varied approaches. Through a careful reconstruction of Melville's interaction with philosophy, Jonik argues that Melville develops a notion of the 'inhuman' after Spinoza's radically non-anthropocentric and relational thought. Melville's own political philosophy, in turn, actively disassembles differences between humans and nonhumans, and the animate and inanimate. Jonik has us rethink not only how we read Melville, but also how we understand our deeply inhuman condition.

    • Contributes key discoveries regarding Melville's relation to philosophy, especially the importance and influence of Spinoza
    • Offers nuanced and ambitious philosophical reading of Melville's politics, bringing new insight into the structure of political community
    • Proposes new terms by which Melville can contribute to the theoretical discourses on the nonhuman, appealing to those interested in new materialism, posthumanism, animal studies, ecocriticism, object theory, or 'impersonal' approaches to American literature
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Herman Melville and the Politics of the Inhuman brilliantly captures many of these valuable strains in Melville's work, and it is most useful - and most pleasurable to think with - when it does so.' Adam Fales, The British Society for Literature and Science (

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108420921
    • length: 276 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.53kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: Melville's inhumanities
    1. 'The constituents of a chaos': character, materiality and ethopolitics in Moby-Dick
    2. A geology of murmurs: Pierre's inhuman transformations
    3. Outlandish beings, outlandish politics: 'The Encantadas, or Enchanted Isles'
    4. Misanthropology: commonality and its discontents in The Confidence-Man
    5. 'Where wild rocks are set': character and the space of Clarel
    6. Form, relation, and dissolution in Melville's later poetry
    Coda: impulsive Billy Budd.

  • Author

    Michael Jonik, University of Sussex
    Michael Jonik teaches American literature at the University of Sussex. He writes on pre–1900 American literature, continental philosophy, and the history of science, with essays on Berkeley, Thoreau, Hawthorne, and James. He has won a Cornell Society for the Humanities Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Leverhulme Research Grant, and, in 2015, the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy prize 'for the paper that makes the most significant contribution to the history of American Philosophy from colonial times to the present.' He is founding member of The British Association of Nineteenth-Century Americanists (BrANCA), and Reviews and Special Issues editor for Textual Practice.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.