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Remapping Jonah's Voyage: Melville's Moby-Dick and Kitto's Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature

Remapping Jonah's Voyage: Melville's Moby-Dick and Kitto's Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature COMPARATIVE LITERATURE /136 Calvin’s commentaries on Jonah, popular sermons of a Calvinistic bent (Mapple’s sermon is modeled on this genre), Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (Crusoe is regarded as a sinful Jonah from the very opening of the book; see Fisch), Pierre Bayle’s account in Dictionnaire historique et critique (1697), and John Eadie’s entry on “Jonah” in Kitto’s Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature (1845), among them. Less traceable Jonahs also peep out at different junctures. Ishmael’s ruminations about the possibility of painting Jonah’s eye looking through the “bow window” eye of the whale in Captain Colnett’s picture may be an allusion to the famous midrash on Jonah’s sightseeing through the window-like eyes of the big fish while traveling in the deep.1 And one could conjecture, in light of Sterling Stucky’s studies on Melville’s exposure to African-American culture, that Melville was not unaware of Jonah’s major role in African-American spirituals in his shaping of Pip as Jonah (Levine 50). I single out John Kitto’s Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature for various reasons. First, the endeavors of nineteenth-century biblical scholars and biblical geographers to reconsider Jonah’s route offer, I believe, an indispensable key to understanding Melville’s virtuoso projection of the terse tale of Jonah http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Duke University Press

Remapping Jonah's Voyage: Melville's Moby-Dick and Kitto's Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature

Comparative Literature , Volume 57 (2) – Jan 1, 2005

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2005 by University of Oregon
ISSN
0010-4124
eISSN
1945-8517
DOI
10.1215/-57-2-135
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

COMPARATIVE LITERATURE /136 Calvin’s commentaries on Jonah, popular sermons of a Calvinistic bent (Mapple’s sermon is modeled on this genre), Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (Crusoe is regarded as a sinful Jonah from the very opening of the book; see Fisch), Pierre Bayle’s account in Dictionnaire historique et critique (1697), and John Eadie’s entry on “Jonah” in Kitto’s Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature (1845), among them. Less traceable Jonahs also peep out at different junctures. Ishmael’s ruminations about the possibility of painting Jonah’s eye looking through the “bow window” eye of the whale in Captain Colnett’s picture may be an allusion to the famous midrash on Jonah’s sightseeing through the window-like eyes of the big fish while traveling in the deep.1 And one could conjecture, in light of Sterling Stucky’s studies on Melville’s exposure to African-American culture, that Melville was not unaware of Jonah’s major role in African-American spirituals in his shaping of Pip as Jonah (Levine 50). I single out John Kitto’s Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature for various reasons. First, the endeavors of nineteenth-century biblical scholars and biblical geographers to reconsider Jonah’s route offer, I believe, an indispensable key to understanding Melville’s virtuoso projection of the terse tale of Jonah

Journal

Comparative LiteratureDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2005

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