His entry begins:
I gorged myself on fiction this summer (especially excellent, Paul Russell’s The Unreal Life of Sergey Nabokov, Ben Lerner, Leaving the Atocha Station, Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending, William Boyd, Waiting for Sunrise, Thaisa Frank, Heidegger’s Glasses, Irvin Yalom, The Spinoza Problem, and some of Alan Furst’s espionage novels). Now, I am fulfilling a hankering for non-fiction.About Dive Deeper, from the publisher:
That desire has been satisfied lately by two books. I stumbled somewhere upon a citation to a book that I had never heard about...[read on]
Herman Melville's epic tale of obsession has all the ingredients of a first rate drama--fascinating characters in solitude and society, battles between good and evil, a thrilling chase to the death--and yet its allusions, digressions, and sheer scope can prove daunting to even the most intrepid reader. George Cotkin's Dive Deeper provides both a guide to the novel and a record of its dazzling cultural train. It supplies easy-to-follow plot points for each of the novel's 135 sections before taking up a salient phrase, image, or idea in each for further exploration. Through these forays, Cotkin traces the astonishing reach of the novel, sighting the White Whale in mainstream and obscure subcultures alike, from impressionist painting circles to political terrorist cells. In a lively and engaging style, Dive Deeper immerses us into the depths of Melville's influence on the literature, film, and art of our modern world. Cotkin's playful wit and critical precision stretch from Camus to Led Zeppelin, from Emerson to Bob Dylan, and bring to life the terrors and wonders of what is arguably America's greatest novel.Learn more about George Cotkin's Dive Deeper at the Oxford University Press website.
Cotkin is a Professor of History at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. His books, in addition to Dive Deeper, are William James, Public Philosopher, Reluctant Modernism: American Thought and Culture, 1880-1900, Existential America, and Morality’s Muddy Waters: Ethical Quandaries in Modern America.
Writers Read: George Cotkin.