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Title: The Blackness of Whiteness in Melville's Gothic Sea
Authors: Lima, Maria Antónia Lima
Editors: Gato, Margarida Vale de
Silva, Edgardo Medeiros
Keywords: Herman Melville
Gothic sea
American Gothic
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Maria Antónia Lima
Citation: Lima, Maria Antónia (2022). "The Blackness of Whiteness in Melville's Gothic Sea". American Studies Over_Seas 1: Narrating Multiple America(s), edited by Edgardo Medeiros Silva, Margarida Vale de Gato, et al, Peter Lang, pp. 77-88.
Abstract: Tearing apart the false appearance of American mythical optimism, Herman Melville’s writing caused deep incisions in the mask of many cultural and literary conventions. Considering the sea as the dark side of the Earth, covering two thirds of its surface and flooded by a dense “blackness of darkness,” this American author created a significant symbolic area that forbids us from ignoring the depths of that unfathomable “mystery of iniquity.” What is more, it also compels us to become aware of the representativeness of the vast space occupied by the dark side of existence in this author’s work as well as the real dimension and importance of his dark vision, which inevitably associates him with the American Gothic. Therefore, this essay will argue that Melville belongs to that group of American classics whom D. H. Lawrence claimed were concerned with creating a new experience the world would fear. As this English author reminds us in his Studies in Classic American Literature, the Pilgrim Fathers were “black, masterful men” who had crossed a “black sea” in “black revulsion” from Europe. Melville knew this well, for confronting fear and exposure to danger, created by natural forces hidden in the dark abyss of the sea, were always the main interests of the author’s life and art, which is plagued by the strong Puritan awareness of innate depravity and the inscrutability of a threatening Nature. As we can read in Moby Dick: “Though in many of its aspects this visible world seems to be in love, the invisible spheres were formed in fright.” Consequently, the power of this writing incessantly challenges the power of the spheres, warning us we must look through the surfaces and penetrate into the dark mysteries of a gothic sea to perceive the inner diabolism of many symbolic meanings that can only be confronted by a daring intrepidness.
Type: bookPart
Appears in Collections:LLT - Publicações - Capítulos de Livros

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