Abstract

Abstract:

Drawing on the idea of fluidity central to oceanic studies, this essay argues that geography is not fixed in Israel Potter. Despite the clear polarization implied by the frame of the revolutionary conflict, the novel displays a series of images that dissolve frontiers, superimpose distant places, and destabilize in the process its own transatlantic geography. Such geographic destabilization is exemplified by the eccentric and unruly character of John Paul Jones, whose oceangoing activities trouble national boundaries and narratives. Melville takes the blurring of national boundaries even further by transposing and superimposing distant geographic locales, which surprisingly bring together, in an oceanic movement, England and New England, London and the Galápagos Islands, as part of his larger critique of capitalism during the Revolutionary period.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1750-1849
Print ISSN
1525-6995
Pages
pp. 35-44
Launched on MUSE
2018-10-19
Open Access
No
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