- From the Mast-Head
With this issue, I am honored to take over from John Bryant as Editor of Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies. John founded Leviathan, the first issue of which appeared in March 1999. In his “From the Mast-Head” columns last year, he detailed the thought and labor behind the development of Leviathan. Building on the work of the Society’s previous editors Hennig Cohen and Donald Yannella, John in 1990 assumed the editorship of the Society’s quarterly newsletter Extracts, which he folded into Leviathan in 2006. Envisioning a journal that would provide a venue for longer essays, book reviews, and special features, John, with the advice of book designer Peter Batchelder, created every feature of Leviathan, from typography to page layout to the structure and appearance of its sections. Hofstra University provided financial support for the start-up and continues to generously fund the journal, which was published first by Blackwell, then Wiley-Blackwell, and now Johns Hopkins University Press. Working with John as Associate Editor over the past three years after succeeding Wyn Kelley in the position, I have seen the expertise, generosity, indefatigability, patience, and commitment to excellence and clarity that he has brought to his job as Editor. I have learned the difference that a scrupulous editor who thinks with writers word by word can make to an argument. In presiding over Leviathan, John has both responded to and helped advance the wide interest in Melville’s fiction, poetry, life, times, and literary relations.
Leviathan has played a distinctive role over the past 15 years, welcoming a range of contributions across a sometimes fissured professional landscape. The journal has published criticism and archival work, written by both established and younger scholars, for an academic and public audience, both domestic and international. Melville studies have crossed such divides and boundaries, and Leviathan has refused to rest comfortably in any camp. As John built on the work of the editors before him, I hope to build on his achievements. I am pleased, and relieved, that he will continue to be associated with the journal as a member of its Advisory Board. For the last 25 years, with extraordinary distinction, John has served the Melville Society, its members, and the many readers of Extracts and then Leviathan. We all are in his debt.
This current issue reflects the range of the journal’s content and perspectives. It opens with two very different essays, Athanasius Christodoulou’s close reading and epistemological scrutiny of doubleness in the “Etymology” [End Page 1] and “Extracts” sections of Moby-Dick and John Gretchko’s documentation of the Melville family’s late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century ties with the Florence Apartment House in New York City and his speculations on the significance of its tenants for Melville’s literary career. This issue also contains poems by Nancy Jasper and three substantial reviews of recent books: Christopher Freeburg’s Melville and the Idea of Blackness, whose fourth chapter on “The Encantadas” was awarded the Melville Society’s Cohen Prize for 2012; Geoffrey Sanborn’s Whipscars and Tattoos: The Last of the Mohicans, Moby-Dick, and the Maori; and Arimichi Makino’s anthology of essays by Japanese scholars on the range of Melville’s writings, Melville and the Wall of the Modern Age. Prof. Makino is the President of the newly constituted Melville Society of Japan and one of the organizers of the Tenth International Melville Society Conference, to be held in Tokyo in June 2015. A special “Extracts” section in this issue gathers material from and about the Ninth International Melville Conference, “Melville and Whitman in Washington: The Civil War Years and After,” held last June at George Washington University. Indicating that the journal’s interest in Melville is relational rather than restrictive, two of the four keynote addresses (by John Bryant and Elizabeth Renker) focus primarily on Melville and two (by Ed Folsom and Kenneth Price) on Whitman. The issue concludes with four reports on the conference by scholars from the US, Germany, and Japan and a photo gallery with a final image of the meeting between US and Japanese scholars to plan the 2015 conference in...