Journals Higher Education



Published: 20 November 2008

168 Pages


ISBN: 9780195372700

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Bookseller Code (AJ)

African Culture and Melville's Art

The Creative Process in Benito Cereno and Moby-Dick

Sterling Stuckey

  • It is argued that slavery is a major theme in Moby-Dick as well as the most important theme in Benito Cereno
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, never before referred to in relation to Melville's creative process, forms the foundation of a new reading of Melville's style of writing
  • The blues theme presented in Douglass's Narrative is a prime example of how music is put to revolutionary purposes, informing the creation of characters, scenes, story lines, and even dialogue in Moby-Dick
  • It is advanced, contrary to previous Melville scholarship, that African and African American values are central to the aesthetic employed in the creation of Moby-Dick and Benito Cereno, and a lasting link is made between the two works
  • Perhaps never before has a form of music been used at as many levels and as ingeniously as in Moby-Dick and dance is equally influential in its composition. But neither dance nor music has been associated with Moby-Dick in the past
  • How Melville could not escape African American art in his formative years is demonstrated
  • Numerous previously overlooked chapters from Amasa Delano's Voyages and Travels, it is shown, were drawn on by Melville in creating Benito Cereno
  • Shows that Charles Dickens's American Notes for General Circulation was influential in the crafting of Moby Dick

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