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by George Cotkin
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History & Criticism
  • Author:
    George Cotkin
  • ISBN:
    0199855757
  • ISBN13:
    978-0199855759
  • Genre:
  • Publisher:
    Oxford University Press; 1 edition (August 1, 2012)
  • Pages:
    320 pages
  • Subcategory:
    History & Criticism
  • Language:
  • FB2 format
    1959 kb
  • ePUB format
    1763 kb
  • DJVU format
    1303 kb
  • Rating:
    4.1
  • Votes:
    253
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George Cotkin's Dive Deeper: Journeys with Moby Dick is a modern companion to Melville's epic novel. Rather than limit the significance of Melville's allegories to mid-nineteenth century referents, Cotkin argues their universality by drawing comparison with various forms of public media and figures. As Dive Deeper’s Table of Contents is ( . /5.

George Cotkin's Dive Deeper: Journeys with Moby Dick is a modern companion to Melville's epic novel.

George Cotkin's Dive Deeper provides both a guide to the novel and a record of its dazzling cultural train. In a lively and engaging style, Dive Deeper immerses us into the depths of Melville's influence on the literature, film, and art of our modern world. It supplies easy-to-follow plot points for each of the novel's 135 sections before taking up a salient phrase, image, or idea in each for further exploration. Cotkin's playful wit and critical precision stretch from Camus to Led Zeppelin, from Emerson to Bob Dylan, and bring to life the terrors and wonders of what is arguably America's greatest novel.

Cal Poly history professor George Cotkin talks about his book, "Dive Deeper: Journeys With Moby Dick" (Oxford University Press, 2012) and the cultural impact of the literary classic, "Moby Dick. He is joined in conversation by associate professor of English, Catherine Waitinas. Moby Dick Herman Melville Cal Poly george cotkin history literature cultural studies. Dive Deeper: Journeys With Moby Dick by Kennedy Library Cal Poly is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Great books such as Moby-Dick live outside the confines of libraries. They occupy a central place in popular culture.

Its deep dives, comedic interludes, adventurous journey, and surface effects demand a new approach. Instead of a traditional academic analysis, Dive Deeper grapples in novel fashion with this classic work. Great books such as Moby-Dick live outside the confines of libraries. Thus, Dive Deeper tracks the novel as it appears in various motion pictures (more than five major ones to date), comic routines and jokes, paintings, novels, songs (from rock toclassical to rap), and in other cultural forms. Through these forays, Cotkin traces the astonishing reach of the novel, sighting the White Whale in mainstream and obscure subcultures alike, from impressionist painting circles to political terrorist cells.

George Cotkin is Emeritus Professor of History at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. His previous books include Existential America, Morality’s Muddy Waters, and Dive Deeper: Journeys with Moby-Dick. Articles Featuring George

George Cotkin is Emeritus Professor of History at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Articles Featuring George. Two Decades of Hip. March 11, 2016. Excess Under Control: The New Sensibility in Midcentury Art. January 24, 2016.

Robert E. Kennedy Library. Dive Deeper: Journeys with Moby-Dick. The topic of conversation will be George Cotkin’s book, Dive Deeper: Journeys with Moby Dick published by Oxford University Press on August 1, 2012. Download: Event Poster. Listen to the Podcast. Hear it on Kennedy Library Out Loud. Our conversation will begin with the author talking informally about his work, followed by questions and conversation with Catherine Waitinas and Q&A with the audience. WHEN: October 12, 10:00 – 11:30am. Coffee and light refreshments will be served. About the Author: George Cotkin is Professor of History at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Bibliographic Details.

Herman Melville's epic tale of obsession has all the ingredients of a first rate drama--fascinating characters in solitude and society, battles between good and evil, a thrilling chase to the death--and yet its allusions, digressions, and sheer scope can prove daunting to even the most intrepid reader. George Cotkin's Dive Deeper provides both a guide to the novel and a record of its dazzling cultural train. It supplies easy-to-follow plot points for each of the novel's 135 sections before taking up a salient phrase, image, or idea in each for further exploration. Through these forays, Cotkin traces the astonishing reach of the novel, sighting the White Whale in mainstream and obscure subcultures alike, from impressionist painting circles to political terrorist cells. In a lively and engaging style, Dive Deeper immerses us into the depths of Melville's influence on the literature, film, and art of our modern world. Cotkin's playful wit and critical precision stretch from Camus to Led Zeppelin, from Emerson to Bob Dylan, and bring to life the terrors and wonders of what is arguably America's greatest novel.

Macage
When I learned of this new study of Melville's "Moby-Dick", "Dive Deeper: Journeys with Moby-Dick", by George Cotkin, I ordered it immediately. I was in the middle of rereading the novel. With its 135 short chapters each devoted to the corresponding chapter of "Moby-Dick" I thought the book would be useful as a running commentary. I became deeply involved in my rereading of the novel, however, and completed the lengthy book before Cotkin's study arrived in the mail. As it turned out, there was no loss because I had been somewhat mistaken in what I thought was the character of Cotkin's work.

Cotkin, Professor of History at California Polytechnic State University, has written extensively about American culture, including books about William James, American existentialism, and current American moral dilemmas. In "Dive Deeper" he writes simply and with contagious enthusiasm about Melville. In spite of the arrangement of his book to correspond to chapters of Melville, however, his book is far from a direct chapter-by-chapter analysis of the text. Instead, Cotkin's study is broad-ranging, digressive, and suggestive, much like the book it celebrates. It is better read on its own, as I did, rather than as an ongoing commentary to accompany a reading of "Moby-Dick".

The book parallels the arrangement of its subject in that it begins with a Prologue, follows with 135 named chapters, and ends with an Epilogue. The format of each chapter varies. In most cases, Cotkin begins with a paragraph with only the barest summary on what occurs in the corresponding chapter of the novel. Cotkin then uses each chapter as a springboard for a discussion of an aspect of "Moby-Dick" that in many instances is only loosely related to the text at hand. In the process, Cotkin offers a fascinating look at how "Moby-Dick" has been appropriated in American culture over the years. In the process, and in passing, he offers his own excellent insights into the novel.

Take for example chapter 48, titled "The First Lowering". In "Moby-Dick" this chapter tells of the first time in the Pequod's journey that the boats were lowered to the water to hunt a whale that had been spotted from the deck.
Cotkin doesn't say much more than this about the content of chapter 48. He uses the term "first lowering" creatively to refer to the first publication of "Moby-Dick" in 1851 in both Britain and the United States. His discussion in the chapter offers an overview of the early reception of the book in the reviews it received, positive, negative, and mixed on both shores of the Atlantic. It is a good parallel and worthwhile even if it is not novelistic criticism.

Some of Cotkin's chapters explore historical figures in Melville's book, which is in line with a traditional commentary. In chapter 124, "The Needle" Cotkin suggests, the fiery Commander Charles Wilkes, commander of the U.S. Exploring Expedition to Antartica, as a possible model for Captain Ahab. For the most part, Cotkin discusses a procession of American critics, novelists, artists, musicians, actors, and others who have engaged with "Moby-Dick" and enriched understanding of the text or used it as a basis for their own original work. Several chapters discuss film versions of the novel, including director John Huston's famous 1956 movie. There are discussions of the lives and thoughts of Melville scholars including Richard Weaver, Lewis Mumford, Lawarence Thompson, and Charles Olson. I am familiar with some of this material and learned a great deal from Cotkin's treatment. I was glad to be reminded of Olson.

Cotkin discusses the way in which literary figures used Melville's text, with reference, for example to Albert Camus, Jack Kerouac, and, in an extended analysis, the American poet Hart Crane. Cotkin explores artistic reaction to Melville in the form of celebrated illustrations for various editions of "Moby-Dick" and a series of paintings by Frank Stella. He explores how the novel has inspired music, from opera and cantata, to Bob Dylan and rap. And Cotkin discusses recent novels which explore the world of Melville and his great book. Among other things, the book offers two references to boxing matches which had been analogized to the conflict between Ahab and the whale: Rocky Marciano-Archie Moore (1955) and the proposed match between Jack Dempsey/Primo Carnera from the 1930's.

Interspersed with his soundings of other writers and artists, Cotkin's offers his own observations on the text: "Melville created a world of symbols in Moby-Dick, and into this world we voyage. No less than Ahab, we attempt to harpoon meaning, to attach ourselves to this great bulk of a volume, its white pages teeming with signifiers of something." To take another example, Cotkin writes the following about Father Mapple's sermon in the ninth chapter of "Moby-Dick".

"Mapple's sermon, then, represents a vision of God as loving and forgiving. It may also be framed as absurd in content and in presentation, issuing forth from a ship's bow and flavored with the salty language of sailors in a church that sweats with bloody deaths. Melville might listen to this sermon and consider it a grand illusion, a sop to those living in a world that is apparently meaningliess and obviously horrific."

I was excited by my recent rereading of "Moby-Dick" and thought I had understood more of the book than in my earlier readings. The novel is inexhaustible. Cotkin's book helped continue my excitement and made me want to think more about the book its multiple levels of meaning, and the art and novels that it has inspired. Cotkin covers much material in a short volume. The book thus has more breadth than depth. Even so, it shows the depth of Melville's thought. Melville's book is one of the few works of literature with power to transform readers. Cotkin's book encourages readers to explore Melville and to explore his injunction to his readers to "Dive Deeper".

Robin Friedman
Drelalak
I have never read Moby Dick and will most likely never read it. But Dive Deeper gave me an understanding of the book that I never would have expected. Taking the novel, history, pop culture and current events and connecting them to the appropriate chapter in the novel, was a great way to explain and expand on the theories behind the novel. I learned historical facts that I had no idea of, I learned of religious, social, and cultural connections from what is described as "the greatest American Novel"; and how it really does connect to modern society. It is not necessary to read Moby Dick to enjoy Dive Deeper, it is only necessary to read Dive Deeper to see why Moby Dick endures.
Villo
I greatly enjoyed this look at some of the many works written about Moby Dick. I especailly appreciated the chapter about my own series, Ahab's Legacy. Although I made a deep study of Moby Dick for my master's thesis, Ahab's Bride, and the following two books, Cotkin has broadened my understanding of Melville's greatest work and its place in American literature. I highly recommend Dive Deeper to anyone who has an interest in great literature.
Coron
I'm not sure how I missed reading Moby Dick in high school (or later), but George Cotkin's "Diving Deeper" gave me the perfect opportunity to find out, what's the big deal? Reading side by side, I was not disappointed. Not only does "Diving Deeper" provide short summaries of Melville's chapters, but much more. This is a delightful potpourri of history, morality, religious thought, music, film, art, philosophy, and popular culture. Cotkin's breadth of knowledge, humor, and lyrical style is impressive, and I came away with not only an appreciation of Melville's great American novel, but deeper understanding of American history and culture.
Cia
A fine companion piece!
Eigeni
A great, insightful, and helpful companion to the novel!
Gardall
A great companion to a great book. Easy to read and helps explain a lot of the symbolism Melville used.
( 3.5/5.0 )

George Cotkin's Dive Deeper: Journeys with Moby Dick is a modern companion to Melville's epic novel. It is not intended to be a comprehensive study guide, but it does provide a decent window to the various meditations threaded throughout Moby Dick. Rather than limit the significance of Melville's allegories to mid-nineteenth century referents, Cotkin argues their universality by drawing comparison with various forms of public media and figures. As Dive Deeper's Table of Contents is identical to that of Moby Dick, it lends itself as a direct chapter-by-chapter guide. Unfortunately, while the format is designed as an homage to Melville's work, it too frequently gives away Moby Dick's conclusion, thereby deflating suspense for anyone reading the guide concurrently with the novel: kindle loc. 767 (p. 43), kindle loc. 1268 (p. 70), kindle loc. 1545 (p. 84), kindle loc. 1708 (p. 92), kindle loc. 1747 (p. 93-94), kindle loc. 1827 (p. 97), kindle loc. 2123 (p. 114), kindle loc. 2688 (p. 145), kindle loc. 2784 (p. 152), kindle loc. 2785 (p. 152), kindle loc. 2928 (p. 159), kindle loc. 3068 (p. 166), kindle loc. 3069 (p. 166), kindle loc. 3111 (p. 169), kindle loc. 3396 (p. 184), kindle loc. 3544 (p. 192), kindle loc. 3615 (p. 196), kindle loc. 4086 (p. 224), kindle loc. 4156 (p. 227), kindle loc. 4195 (p. 229), kindle loc. 4271 (p. 234), kindle loc. 4378 (p. 240), kindle loc. 4455 (p. 243).