In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

From the Mast-Head L eviathan begins its eighth year, or rather its eighth volume. It is nice to think of years volumetrically as if time were a fluid you could decant into a clearly defined space, a flask or pitcher or vase, anything with volume. Ishmael plays with this idea although in a different register when he sets about, with great determination, to build his “Cetology,” a classification of whales based on their “volume,” that is their “size.” Never mind that volume and size are not the same, Ishmael has a pun to pursue, and a chapter to write. He divides his weighty whales into “books,” or rather book sizes— folios, octavos, duodecimos—and these are altogether another different kind of “volume.” Thus, the cetological and the volumetrical turn out to be bibliographical . As a writer and reader and keeper of books, I love this joke: it reminds me that “things” are not readily classifiable, and once classifiable still not knowable; and yet these unknowables are readable, like books. So things, in our mind at any rate, are texts. They have volume; they speak volumes; they are volumes. But as an editor of a journal, I must address a dimension Ishmael does not discuss in his cetology. Leviathan comes to you periodically; its separate issues mark the passage of time, and the full periodicity of a periodical and the full run of a year’s issues we call a “volume,” for someday someone somewhere will bind up the year’s issues in a single book for library reference. A familiar locution, and yet suggestive. If we measure out time in volumes, the passage from issue to issue, are we not measuring our time spent in these units of text? Is time then just a ribbon text flowing? And are we writers and readers (as handlers of text) not therefore masters of time? I think you may see a genial desperation in that last question, and so let me turn to more practical matters. Texts in their volume also change over time; they grow; they evolve. And Leviathan has evolved. You may not notice much change because the face of this journal has not changed; however, our contents and periodicity have. Up until now, the Melville Society has published first Extracts and then Leviathan on an “in-house” basis, with editorial, production, and distribution processes assumed by the Editor, with whatever institutional and free-lance help that might be available. With the advent of Leviathan in 1998, the hope was that a more professionalized arrangement could be developed with an academic C  2006 The Authors Journal compilation C  2006 The Melville Society and Blackwell Publishing Inc L E V I A T H A N A J O U R N A L O F M E L V I L L E S T U D I E S 3 F R O M T H E M A S T - H E A D or commercial publisher. Now, eight years later, Blackwell Publishers (with offices in Oxford and Boston) will take on the production and marketing of Leviathan, distributing hardcopy issues of the journal to Melville Society members and putting the journal online for libraries. In this happy new arrangement , the Melville Society retains full control over the editorial functions, and Blackwell will expand the circulation of Leviathan worldwide. Readers will notice two changes. First, Leviathan will now appear three times a year: March, June, and October. In addition, Melville Society Extracts will no longer appear in its familiar newsletter format but will be included as a permanent feature called Extracts in each issue of Leviathan. Edited by Associate Editor Wyn Kelley, this substantial department will retain the scope, contents, and feel, if not format, of the former newsletter. Thus, Leviathan will give you articles, notes, reviews, and occasional creative writing; and Extracts appearing at the back of each issue will feature society news and reports, paper abstracts and speeches, and updates of the Melville Society’s Archive and Cultural Project hosted by the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The Melville Society is a larger and broader organization than it was when I first joined in 1975. It has...


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pp. 3-5
Launched on MUSE
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