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Herman Melville and the Politics of the Inhuman

£75.00

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

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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
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    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 (bsls.ac.uk)

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    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.

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