Playful learning : Melville's artful art in Moby-Dick

Edwards, Brian 2006, Playful learning : Melville's artful art in Moby-Dick, Australasian journal of American studies : AJAS, vol. 25, no. 1, pp. 1-13.

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Title Playful learning : Melville's artful art in Moby-Dick
Formatted title Playful learning : Melville's artful art in Moby-Dick
Author(s) Edwards, Brian
Journal name Australasian journal of American studies : AJAS
Volume number 25
Issue number 1
Start page 1
End page 13
Publisher Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association
Place of publication Sydney, N.S.W.
Publication date 2006
ISSN 1838-9554
Keyword(s) United States -- Civilization
Summary It remains one of the great ironies of American literary history that Melville's Moby-Dick struggled so long for critical and popular recognition. It is a peculiar text (but, then, so are Hawthorne's novels), a romance of the whale fishery that involves such explorations of language itself, of words, metaphor, symbol, allegory and the processes (and significance) of narrative construction. This article analyses its 'peculiarities' as fundamental indicators of Melville's 'playful art' to argue the usefulness of a concept of 'play' to its appreciation. That Moby-Dick is allusive and multi-layered is well known. But for what apparent purpose and to what effect? Here, a claim is made that Melville simultaneously constructs and deconstructs meaning by demonstrating that things ('in complex subjects') never come simply or singly. The later Barthes and Derrida become part of this ship's crew and Moby-Dick is a postmodernist novel avant la lettre.
Language eng
Field of Research 200506 North American Literature
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Arts and Education
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