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Lecture: The Natural History of Moby-Dick: Ishmael, the Marine Biologist, the Environmentalist, and a Climate Refugee?


Join us Thursday, December 7th, from 6-7:30 p.m. for this multimedia lecture on Moby Dick with Dr. Richard King, research associate at Williams Mystic.

The story and characters of Moby-Dick are as ingrained in American popular culture as those from Harry Potter and Star Wars. Yet how in this twenty-first century should we read a novel that seems at first glance to simply celebrate the brutal killing of whales? In this multimedia talk, looking in particular at the giant squid, zooplankton, and his hours up aloft in the masthead searching for whales, we'll explore how Herman Melville tips his hand as a proto-environmentalist and one who carefully represents both the ideas of the naturalists of his day and his observations from his own lengthy experience at sea himself. What Melville could never have imagined in 1850s, however, is a global ocean that might be vulnerable to human impact, let alone one that might require our stewardship. No recent familiarity with the novel is necessary or expected to attend and enjoy this presentation! There will be time for discussion.

Cost for this lecture is $5 and free for Museum members.