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Criticism of Emerson's Transcendentalism in Melville's Moby-Dick
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Language, Literature and Intercultural Studies (from 2013).
2019 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 330 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Kritik mot Emersons transcendentalism i Melvilles Moby-Dick (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

In conceptualizing Moby-Dick; or, the whale, Herman Melville was both drawn and opposed to the ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Through an analysis of the main characters in MobyDick and Emerson’s writing, it becomes evident that Transcendentalism is embodied in the characterization of the novel’s main characters. I argue that the eventual fates of characters in the novel reveal Melville’s criticism of Emerson’s ideas. Moreover, the depiction of ocean and land as a symbol of the soul in Moby-Dick mirrors Emerson’s idealized relationship between man and nature. However, the ambiguous and horrific nature Melville produces shows that the romantic ideal of Emerson’s is lacking.    

Abstract [sv]

I skrivandet av Moby Dick eller valen så kom Herman Melville att både inspireras av och motsätta sig Ralph Waldo Emersons idéer. Genom en analys av huvudkaraktärerna i Moby Dick samt Emersons texter så är det tydligt att transcendentalism finns förkroppsligad i karaktäriseringen av romanens huvudkaraktärer. Jag argumenterar för att karaktärernas slutgiltiga öden i romanen uttrycker Melvilles kritik av Emersons idéer. Vidare så är skildringen av hav och land som en symbol för själen i Moby Dick en spegling av Emersons idealiserade förhållande mellan människa och natur. Emellertid den tvetydiga och fruktansvärda natur Melville skapar visar på bristfälligheten i Emersons romantiska ideal.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 21
Keywords [en]
Transcendentalism, Melville, Emerson, Ahab, Ishmael
National Category
General Literature Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-70906OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-70906DiVA, id: diva2:1285995
Subject / course
English
Educational program
Secondary Education Programme: Upper-Secondary School: English (300 ECTS credits)
Presentation
2019-02-05, Karlstad, 15:38 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-02-05 Created: 2019-02-05 Last updated: 2019-02-05Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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