Books Acquired Recently: Melville

Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick: A Norton Critical Edition. 1851. Ed. Hershel Parker and Harrison Hayford. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2002.

I am thinking about teaching Moby-Dick in a literary criticism course in the spring, so I requested an exam copy of the Norton edition because it includes some critical essays on the novel. The first Norton rep I ever had (in Illinois) was super-stingy with exam copies, thus it always fills me with glee when my current rep here in Utah always happily fulfills my requests. This is the fifth different printing of the novel that I have acquired. If I teach it I’ll use either this edition or the Penguin edition. The Penguin edition is much more aesthetically pleasing with its classic black cover (see Nicholson Baker’s The Mezzanine for more on the beauty of Penguin paperbacks), but my students might find the Norton more useful.

—. Pierre, or the Ambiguities. 1852. Ed. Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker, and G. Thomas Tanselle. Evanston: Northwestern UP, 1995.

I’ve been looking for a copy of Pierre for a while in various used bookstores (i.e., it’s been on my radar for a while, but it hasn’t been an urgent need) because its portrayal of sexuality sounds intriguing. This evening I was at the Central Book Exchange in Salt Lake City looking for something else that they didn’t have, but they did have an almost new copy of Melville’s novel. There is some underlining (In ink! The previous owner was clearly a philistine.) in the first chapter, but otherwise it is in excellent condition.

Published by danielshankcruz

I grew up in New York City and lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Goshen, Indiana; DeKalb, Illinois; and Salt Lake City, Utah before coming to Utica, New York. My mother’s family is Swiss-German Mennonite (i.e., it’s an ethnicity, not necessarily a theological persuasion) and my father’s family is Puerto Rican. I have a Ph.D. in English and currently teach at Utica College. I have also taught at Northern Illinois University and Westminster College in Salt Lake City. My teaching and scholarship are motivated by a passion for social justice, which is why my research focuses on the literature of oppressed groups, especially LGBT persons and people of color. While I primarily read and write about fiction, I am also a devoted reader of poetry because, as William Carlos Williams writes, “It is difficult / to get the news from poems / yet [people] die miserably every day / for lack / of what is found there.” Thinkers who influence me include Marina Abramovic, Kathy Acker, Di Brandt, Ana Castillo, Samuel R. Delany, Percival Everett, Essex Hemphill, Jane Jacobs, Walt Whitman, and the New York School of poets. I am also fond of queer Mennonite writers such as Stephen Beachy, Jan Guenther Braun, Lynnette Dueck/D’anna, and Casey Plett. In my free time I’m either reading, writing the occasional poem, playing board games (especially Scrabble, backgammon, and chess), watching sports (Let’s Go, Mets!), or cooking (curries, stews, roasts…).

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