This flyer describes the book, Moby-Dick and Peace: Melville's "Gospel of the Century" Revisited, which is an original study about the influence of Orientalism on Melville and how Transcendentalists and Orientalists were instrumental to Melville's writing of his classic novel. I have used the materials in this book for my classroom teaching and have found that they provide missing knowledge links for students of the American Renaissance period.

Highlights of the book:

Moby-Dick and Peace sheds new light on Melville's Romanticism through the context of the China trade and China-related travel and texts. Dr. Ferrantello writes original interpretations of symbolism such as the masthead, "meditations and water," "circumambulation of the city," the ocean, the "universal yellow lotus," the symphony of sea and sky and the whale and of Melville's biblical, Jobian conclusions. The imaginative association of nineteenth-century visionary illustrations by Elihu Vedder and contemporary realist paintings by Joseph Raffael enhance this new presentation.

As a groundbreaking study, this book is very readable for both the scholar and the intelligent layperson who want to understand Moby-Dick. The interdisciplinary knowledge structured into six chapters provides a companion volume for students and teachers studying Melville's text.


"Arguing against critics who claim Melville as wholly pessimistic and even anti-religious, in this important new book on Moby-Dick and its sources, Ferrantello persuasively makes a case for Melville as an American Universalist. Drawing on sources as diverse as the French translations used by Thoreau and other Transcendentalists, the monumental work on Asian religions by Samuel Johnson, and the works of European Orientalists, Ferrantello meticulously documents the many influences on and parallels to Melville's fluid religious Universalism. Moby-Dick and Peace is a book that subsequent critics will have to reckon with." --Arthur J. Versluis, author of American Transcendentalism and Asian Religions

Book Information: 5½ " x 8½ " paperback with laminated cover, pages include viii intro and 120 text; thirteen color illustrations and eleven black and white photographs related to the nineteenth-century China Trade and Melville.

ISBN 0-9678903-0-6

Table of Contents
Table of Contentsiv-v
1) Chapter One - Ishmael’s Transcontinental Journey1
  Given the cultural transformations triggered by science, trade and travel, Ishmael questions the meaning of life and religious understandings. What forces shaped Melville’s life? How does he depart from American mainstream Christianity? Why does Ishmael take the journey eastward on the Pequod and within his inner consciousness? What colleagues shared Melville’s explorations? How have modern critics dealt with Melville’s relationship to the Orient?
2) Chapter Two - The Influence of the China Trade, Travel and Texts on Melville’s Life and Thought9
  Since Melville’s relatives and contemporaries were involved with the China trade and Oriental cultures, they contributed to his knowledge. Passages about the China trade and Oriental culture are shown within Moby-Dick and other works. What other thinkers and texts about the Orient itself were influential?
3) Chapter Three - Transcendence to Peace: Meditation and the Orient 39
  Melville expresses both Christian and Oriental images in the novel. After Ishmael asserts his "meditation and water" mythos in the first chapter, what direction does his "dive into consciousness" take? How does Melville develop the unfolding stages of Ishmael’s consciousness? How does symbolism relate to consciousness and the external narration of the whale hunt? How do the writings of Thoreau and Emerson influence Melville’s thought?
4) Chapter Four - The Romantic Heritage: Nature- Philosophy and Polarities71
  Why was Melville so involved with the notion of polarities characteristic of Romanticism? How did his Romantic precursors perceive the relationship between mind and matter? What thinkers felt affinity with the wisdom from the Orient? How did Romanticism challenge materialistic orientations?
5) Chapter Five - A Symphony of Peace: Melville and Universalism 85
  Melville was surrounded by people engaged with intense religious involvements and radical debate. The revelation of peace and harmony affects Ishmael’s understanding of the relationship between Christianity and the world religions. Ishmael’s transcendent experience of peace relates to the individual, the relationship between masculine and feminine and the world cultures at large. Who were the Orientalists who influenced and/or paralleled Melville’s own speculations about religion and universal truth? What roles do Ishmael and Queequeg play in this debate? How does the symbolism of the sea express universality?
6) Chapter Six - Conclusion : Writing Moby-Dick the Logos and The Tao101
  Similar to other Transcendentalists and Romantics, Melville discovers enlightenment through intuition and the reconciliation of polarities. Is it possible that the notion of the "Tao" was a germinating seed and design for the artistry of Moby-Dick? The pattern for design, as both conscious and unconscious creation, originates with a way of knowing and perceiving nature. Ishmael’s Romantic and Christian, Jobian quest to know the face of the whale develops and expands into a new understanding of God or a universal consciousness.
List of Illustrations 111-112
Selected Bibliography 113-116
Appendix 117-120

Orders can be sent to and payable to: The Ferrantello Group c/o Open Sky Press, 3624 Naturewalk Trail, Marietta, Georgia 30060; Listprice $19.95; add tax $1.00; add shipping and handling $3.00 for U.S. or $6.00 for international mailing. Only checks for U.S. currency accepted, payable to The Ferrantello Group. When check clears (usually one-two weeks), books will be mailed. Discounts for classroom orders: minimum order: 15 books @ $15.95/book.

Questions and Feedback can be directed by e-mail:, fax 770-319-1891, or telephone 770-319-9865

About the author:
Dr. D. J. Ferrantello earned a doctorate in American Literature, Culture, and Religion and a master’s of philosophy in Nineteenth Century Thought from Drew University. Published in journals such as The Wordsworth Circle, Dr. Ferrantello has lectured overseas, taught graduate courses at Moscow State University and high school English while living in Africa, as well as having journeyed to the Far East four times.

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