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From the Mast-Head R eaders will recall that our last issue (Leviathan 13.3) was a special issue featuring essays edited by Hilton Obenzinger and Basem Ra’ad, most of which were developed from papers delivered at our “Melville and the Mediterranean” conference in Jerusalem, 2009. Our present number also includes a special issue, this time appearing in our recurring department “Extracts,” and squired into existence by our associate editor Samuel Otter. It features keynote addresses, reports, and a photo gallery, all drawn from another momentous conference, “Melville and Rome,” which took place in Rome and Naples, on June 22–26, 2011. In keeping with other special issues of “Extracts” like it, the present number celebrates the Melville Society’s tradition of biannual international conferences begun in 1997. In due course, Leviathan will also publish a special issue of essays drawn from the Rome conference. But for the moment, contemplating the sequence of one conference-related special issue after another has brought a feeling of convergence and yet loss. Our international conferences—one every two years, with future ones being planned, as we speak, for Washington, DC, Tokyo, and other venues on up to the much anticipated bicentennial year of 2019—remind us of how much the Melville Society has grown in the past two decades. Augmenting its scholarly reputation as a leading single-author society is the Melville Society Cultural Project (MSCP), which maintains a thriving archive and coordinates outreach programs at home and abroad. And the society’s new affiliation with the Melville Electronic Library (MEL) signals our further development into the digital world. Similarly, our international conferences have brought together in ever-larger numbers diverse scholars from Europe, Asia, Africa, the Pacific, and the Americas. Increasingly, the Melville Society is becoming the cosmopolitan crew it always aimed to be from its beginnings in 1947. But with this sense of convergence coming out of this past year of growth and celebration also comes a sense of loss with the passing of three deeply admired Melville scholars, two of whom are memorialized in our pages here—Walter Bezanson and Stanton Garner—and one to be memorialized in a later issue: Milton Stern. Each was old enough in their final year to have known a time when Melville was not a cultural icon of world literature but a newly resurrected literary question mark. For them, Melville was still terra incognita, and while, in my view, Melville always remains deliciously, fruitfully c  2012 The Melville Society and Wiley Periodicals, 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 5 J O H N B R Y A N T half-known, always available for new discovery, please imagine what it must have been like to embark upon Melville in the 1930s and 1940s along with these three scholars—each in their way youthful to the end—as they learned new facts and taught new ways of reading back when Melville studies was essentially virgin land. I first met each scholar in his prime, and it was an honor to know all three. Of course, we miss these scholars—their generosity and geniality, their wit and insight, their thoughtful argumentation—but their writings remain; and what a gift it is we have in their writing. Each struggled with his gift, as all of us do. I had the pleasure of editing Bezanson and Stern as contributors to my 1986 Companion to Melville Studies. Both struggled to keep their capacious essays from growing too large; I struggled with my desire to give them free license and my publisher’s charge to keep things short. Walter, in particular, lamented that Time, Strength, Patience, and Word Count all contributed to his having to limit his remarkable essay—“Moby-Dick: Document, Drama, Dream”—to its present length, leaving a fourth section yet to be written. And I always wondered exactly how brilliantly that fourth idea would have been written out: it was to be “Dance.” Our first international conference, in Volos, Greece, in 1997, brings to mind a characteristic...


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