Category Archives: Melville

Interview with Philip Wohlstetter

For a couple of years now I have really wanted to attend the Red May socialist festival in Seattle, but sadly the timing (and the physical distance) have gotten in the way. This year, because of COVID-19, I ended up … Continue reading

Posted in capital accumulation, empire, finance and insurance, infrastructure, labour, logistics, Melville, Middle East, militaries, oil, political economy, ports, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Bunch of Lonesome Heroes: The factory at sea

9 February 2015 20.00 “Going forward and glancing over the weather bow, [… the] prospect was unlimited, but exceedingly monotonous and forbidding; not the slightest variety that I could see.” Herman Melville, Moby Dick For the next few days, we … Continue reading

Posted in Allan Sekula, capital accumulation, labour, literature, Melville, Middle East, political economy, readings, seafaring, shipping conditions, transport, Travels | Leave a comment

Marsaxlokk-Jabal-Ali: Besotted with the sea

6 February 2015 “For a ship is a bit of terra firma cut off from the main; it is a state in itself; and the captain is its king.” (Melville, White-Jacket – did Conrad plagiarise Melville as I often think … Continue reading

Posted in Allan Sekula, capital accumulation, infrastructure, labour, literature, logistics, Melville, ports, readings, the sea | 2 Comments

Marsaxlokk-Jabal Ali: Surmises

How will I ever be able to return to life, “circumspect life” in Melville’s words, after that, the “delirious throb” of this research adventure? In his gorgeous opening to Moby Dick, Melville writes, “whenever it is a damp, drizzly November … Continue reading

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At Melville’s Tomb

At Melville’s Tomb By Hart Crane Often beneath the wave, wide from this ledge The dice of drowned men’s bones he saw bequeath An embassy. Their numbers as he watched, Beat on the dusty shore and were obscured. And wrecks … Continue reading

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“a seaman in exile from the sea”

Do you remember that haunting Conrad quotation from Heart of Darkness that says “The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a … Continue reading

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“Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its ragged edges…”

From Melville’s Billy Budd: …war contractors, whose gains, honest or otherwise, are in every land an anticipated portion of the harvest of death…. And he is the inventor of “fog of war” too: Forty years after a battle it is … Continue reading

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“It is not down in any map; true places never are.”

Before starting any project, I like to self-saturate with novels about a subject.   It is one of the greatest pleasures of learning something entirely new, and it is a way to get a sense of the texture and richness … Continue reading

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