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Melville's Wisdom – Religion, Skepticism, and Literature in Nineteenth-Century America - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Melville's Wisdom: Religion, Skepticism, and Literature in Nineteenth-Century America

Damien B. Schlarb


This book explores the manner in which Herman Melville responds to the spiritual crisis of modernity by using the language of the biblical Old Testament wisdom books to moderate contemporary discourses on religion, skepticism, and literature. Melville’s work is an example of how romantic literature fills the interpretive lacuna left by contemporary theology. This book argues that attending to Melville’s engagement with the wisdom books (Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes) can help us understand a paradox at the heart of American modernity: the simultaneous displacement and affirmation of biblical ... More

Keywords: Herman Melville, Bible, Old Testament, skepticism, exegesis, wisdom books, postsecularism, modernity, nineteenth-century literature, American Renaissance

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2021 Print ISBN-13: 9780197585566
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2021 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780197585566.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Damien B. Schlarb, author
Assistant Professor of American Studies, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

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