“In the mid-20th century, C. L. R. James made the brilliant argument that Moby-Dick’s real hero—the novel’s central interest—was not Ahab, or Ishmael, or Moby Dick himself, but the multiracial, multiethnic, multinational crew of the Pequod. In James’s view, Melville imagined (but was not fully able to realize) a novel that elevated and celebrated the polyglot crew over its white officers and white totalitarian captain. James, a Trinidadian intellectual and anti-Stalinist Marxist, wrote Mariners, Renegades and Castaways: The Story of Herman Melville and the World We Live In (1952) while interned on Ellis Island awaiting deportation; he sent a copy of the book to every member of the US Senate. If only they had read it—it resonates still.” Read more...
The Best Herman Melville Books