R103 | In the Wake of the Whale:
Melville's Shorter Fiction
Richard Matturro


1:30 - 3:00 p.m.

In-person at BCC

6/8, 6/15, 6/22, 6/29

Four Sessions

Herman Melville is best known, of course, for one book, Moby-Dick. A decade after its publication, though, he was so disheartened at its hostile reception by reviewers and by its dismal sales that he gave up writing prose altogether and spent the last thirty years of his life writing poetry. But in that brief interval before he turned to verse, sitting in his lonely study on the second floor of Arrowhead, his home in Pittsfield, he wrote some of his most compelling short stories. Then, many years later and shortly before his death, he revisited prose one last time to write a final disturbing sea tale about a young sailor, an enigmatic captain, and the insoluble riddle of evil and justice, Billy Budd.

Suggested Readings:

Class #1: "The Piazza"
Class #2: "Bartleby the Scrivener"
Class #3: "Benito Cerino"
Class #4: Billy Budd

The first three are in Melville’s short story collection, The Piazza Tales. All four are widely available in many editions and are also available full-text on the internet.

Richard Matturro, a native of Rye, New York, holds a doctorate in English with a specialization in Shakespeare and Greek Mythology. After sixteen years at the Albany Times Union, he taught literature at U Albany for fourteen years. He is the author of numerous newspaper articles and six novels. During the summer he conducts tours of Arrowhead, Melville’s Berkshire home.

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