Several people have taken considerable time to read parts of this study. I am deeply grateful to Robert A. Ferguson who advised me on this project from its early stages as a dissertation at the University of Chicago ( 1989). I am also grateful to my Melville professors, Benjamin J. Lease, James E. Miller, John Singleton, Robert E. Streeter, and William Veeder, who helped me think about Melville and literary history in new ways. I would also like to thank particularly Charlene Avallone, Daniel A. Cohen, Wyn Kelley, Carolyn Karcher, Robert Madison, Laurie Robertson-Lorant, and Susan Belasco Smith for the time, advice, and enthusiasm they each offered in our several discussions of Melville's position within antebellum culture.
The following scholars have thoughtfully commented upon various portions of this book, and I am indebted to each: Hans Bergmann, Lauren Berlant, Walter Bezanson, Ray Browne, John Bryant, Hennig Cohen, Cathy N. Davidson, William Dillingham, Wai-chee Dimock, John Ernest, Michael T. Gilmore, Neil Harris, Susan K. Harris, Tom Inge, Christopher Looby, Kathleen McCormack, Kenneth Price, David S. Reynolds, and Eric Sundquist. Other scholars too numerous to mention here whose own works have indirectly influenced this study are acknowledged in due course in the following pages.
Parts of chapters 5 and 8 of this book have appeared in journals: "Philosophy in Whales . . . Poetry in Blubber: Mixed Form in MobyDick", in Nineteenth-Century Literature ( December 1990); "Genre and Ideology: The French Sensational Romance and Melville's Pierre", in Journal of American Culture (Fall 1992); Canonical Texts and Context: The Example of "Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street,