Lunchtime Talk with Travis Foster | Melville: Race and Reconciliation after the Civil War

Date / Time

  • October 1, 2019
    12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

How did Melville’s thinking about American race relations shift after the Civil War? How does this shift help us better understand white nationalism in our own era? This talk addresses these questions by contrasting Melville’s resistance to racist thought in his antebellum writings (especially Typee, Moby-Dick, and Benito Cereno) with his seeming embrace of white (more…)

Stephen Collins, Sailing Towards My Father

Date / Time

  • October 8, 2019
    7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Stephen Collins’s electrifying performance of Sailing Towards My Father (written by Carl A. Rossi), a one-actor play about Herman Melville—the American author best known for his whaling epic Moby-Dick—chronicles Melville’s life from youth to old age, concentrating on his evolution as a writer and his complex relations with God, his parents and siblings, his wife and children, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

In Conversation with Steven Olsen-Smith | Melville’s Reading and the Arc of Literary Genius

Date / Time

  • October 10, 2019
    6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Herman Melville acquired some 1,000 books prior to his death, after which his library was dispersed among family members and second-hand book dealers. Less than a third of the collection is known to survive, but copies with his autograph and notes continue to resurface. This program will discuss ongoing efforts to trace the dispersal of Melville’s library and analyze evidence of his reading, including technical recovery of annotations that were erased after his death, and will address the role of Melville’s engagement with books in the formation of his genius and the creation of his art.

Mini-Series: Three Looks at Jonah | Jewish Perspectives with Natalie B. Dohrmann

Date / Time

  • October 16, 2019
    6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Sea monsters in Jewish tradition bear with them always tales of the beginning of time, and its end. Jonah, riding in the belly of his great fish, is carried uncertainly between them. Johan has baffled Jewish interpreters for centuries, and ignited a wide range of conflicting interpretations. The rabbis said the eyes of the whale were like windows though which Jonah could observe the foundations of creation – we’ll look back through at him to try to get a hold on what has made this short book such a fathomless riddle for Jews.

Course | Herman Melville: Beyond Moby-Dick

Date / Time

  • November 17, 2019
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • December 15, 2019
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • January 26, 2020
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • February 23, 2020
    2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

This course won’t be anything close to a comprehensive survey of Melville’s writings. Yet by setting aside his behemoth, Moby-Dick, we will acquire depth into key texts that help us gain perspective on his career and, even more importantly, insight into his arguments about politics, power, self-deception, and modernity.

Bibliobrews: Whaling Songs and Sea Chanties

Event Phone: (215) 732-1600

Date / Time

  • November 23, 2019
    1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

A rollicking afternoon of song and beer, as we welcome back brewer George Hart with a specially brewed ale honoring Melville’s life as a sea voyager. 

Mini-Series: Three Looks at Jonah | Christian Perspectives with Rev. Bill Golderer

Date / Time

  • December 11, 2019
    6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

From Father Mapple’s sermon to the very premise of The Whale, the Biblical figure of Jonah hovers throughout Moby-Dick. The ancient story of Jonah is a shared text that has influenced literature and religion across cultures and centuries. In conjunction with the Rosenbach’s American Voyager exhibit, scholars and faith leaders from Philadelphia will explore the importance of the prophet Jonah to understandings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.