Melville and Repose: The Rhetoric of Humor in the American Renaissance

Melville and Repose: The Rhetoric of Humor in the American Renaissance

by John Bryant
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195077822

ISBN-13: 9780195077827

Pub. Date: 10/28/1993

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

John Bryant's book is a strong and significant argument for the centrality of the comic and repose in Melville's novels. The purpose of Melville and Repose is dual: to ground the uses of romantic humor in Melville in sensitive readings of contemporaneous European and American writings, and to offer a definitive account of the comic as the shaping force of

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Overview

John Bryant's book is a strong and significant argument for the centrality of the comic and repose in Melville's novels. The purpose of Melville and Repose is dual: to ground the uses of romantic humor in Melville in sensitive readings of contemporaneous European and American writings, and to offer a definitive account of the comic as the shaping force of Melville's narrative voice throughout the major phase of his literary career. Bryant argues that Melville fused a "rhetoric of geniality" and "picturesque sensibility" adopted from the British with a "rhetoric of deceit" borrowed from the American tall tale in order to create his own amiably cosmopolitan "rhetoric of aesthetic repose." Thorough research into American culture and recent Melville manuscript findings, an engaging style, and full, scholarly readings combine to make this historicist study a welcome addition to the libraries of Americanists and Melville scholars and enthusiasts.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195077827
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
10/28/1993
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
1310L (what's this?)

Table of Contents

Abbreviations for Frequently Cited Sources
1A Great Intellect in Repose3
Humor and Being6
Melville's Aesthetics of Repose8
Melville's Rhetoric: Voicing the Voiceless19
Melville and the Reader: "Lord when shall we be done changing?"27
IAmerica's Comic Debate
2America's Repose33
Britain's Amiable Tradition34
Amiability on Native Ground41
3The Example of Irving52
Irving's Comic Debate53
Salmagundi and Some Versions of the Bachelor55
A Rip in the Canvas: Irving's Picturesque63
Irving's Goldsmith and the Rhetoric of Geniality66
4Playing Along: America and the Rhetoric of Deceit70
The Deep Thought of Laughter70
A Veracious History of Lying72
The Lie of our Land: Forms of Comic Lying82
5E. A. Poe and T. B. Thorpe: Two Models of Deceit88
Poe's Humor88
Thorpe's Big Bear100
6The Genial Misanthrope: Melville and The Cosmopolitan Ideal109
Melville's Cosmopolite110
Europe's Cosmopolite: "At Home in Every Place"112
America's Con Man Cosmopolite: "Nowhere a Stranger"116
Herman Melville: "Diogenes Masquerading as a Cosmopolitan"127
IIRhetoric and Repose
Typee
7The Anxieties of Humor131
Reliability and the Amiable Rebel134
Tommo's Picturesque139
Tommo's Amiable Eden140
8Typee in Manuscript146
Drama and Restraint146
Finding Voice: Transcription, Transformation, and Translation152
Forging Ideology: Melville and "Little Henry"157
9Tommo's Rhetoric of Deceit161
Tattoo, Taboo, and Cannibalism: Forms of Conversion162
Tommo Prometheus165
Baffled Scientist and Con Man Revivalist174
Rover and Cosmopolite178
Moby Dick
10Ishmael: Sounding the Repose of If186
Ishmael's Initiation: Narcissist and Cosmopolite187
Knowledge and Voice192
Finding Voice: Ishmael's Genial Desperation199
Pondering Repose204
11Ahab: Personifying the Impersonal209
"What Cozening, Hidden Lord and Master"212
Displaced Fools219
On the Margin of the Maelstrom228
12Melville's Comedy of Doubt230
Melville's Reader: Partner, Victim, Participant231
Allegory and Breakdown234
The Confidence-Man
13Comic Debates: The Uses of Cosmopolite244
Pitch: The False Misanthropist245
Charlie Noble: The False Genialist250
Charlemont: The Genial Misanthrope261
Coda: Something Further265
Notes269
Index299

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