American Literature: Herman Melville with Dr Mark Crees

Ref: C3532727

It is a big book – but do not let that put you off! Moby Dick will often bemuse those readers who come in search of an action-packed monster movie. However, it is so much more than that. It is Melville’s warm-hearted, exuberant prose poem to the sea. On this course, we will be reading Moby Dick with great care, as well as exploring Melville’s other writings, and his life and times. Perhaps, like many readers, you have always meant to read Melville, but find the task too daunting, if not, a bit unusual. Do we really want to read a massive tome about a massive whale? Strangely enough, I hope you will discover that you do. I hope this course will persuade you to take down that formidable looking dusty volume and re-imagine Moby Dick as it was, when it first appeared: a strange, beautiful, hilarious, eloquent, eccentric account of one man’s moving memories of his life amidst 'the watery pastures,', namely: the sea.

Course aim

To understand the work of Herman Melville, with special focus on Moby Dick.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Understand the value of reading and studying an innovative American novelist.
  • Observe something of Melville's style and technique as a writer.
  • Explore something of the historical context in which Melville was writing
  • Improve skills of close reading
  • Recognise the range of Melville's output, as novelist, travel writer, essayist, poet and philosopher.

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

You will need your own copy of Moby Dick.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

American Literature: Herman Melville with Dr Mark Crees

Is this course right for me? Request more information

This course is only available as part of this programme.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
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  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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