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Hennelly, M. (1973). Ishmael's Nightmare and the American Eve. Am. Imago, 30(3):274-293.

(1973). American Imago, 30(3):274-293

Ishmael's Nightmare and the American Eve

Mark Hennelly, Ph.D.

On January 8, 1852, Melville wrote a letter congratulating Sophia Hawthorne on finding a “subtile [sic'] significance” in the “Spirit-Spout” chapter of Moby Dick: “But, then, since you, with your spiritualizing nature, see more things than other people, and by the same process, refine all you see, so they are not the same things that other people see, but things which while you think you but humbly discover them, you do in fact create them for yourself.” The modern reader of Moby Dick must follow the lead of Mrs. Hawthorne's “spiritualizing nature” and likewise attempt to “humbly discover” what Melville called the “part-&-parcel allegoricalness of the whole.” The intent of this essay is to provide a psychoallegorical reading of the novel, not in terms of the mind that produced it, but rather in terms of the uniquely American consciousness and unconsciousness that Moby Dick dramatizes, especially with regard to the American male's “flight from woman.”

3 This has often been done before and, not so curiously, coincides generally with the cultural psychology which I propose to discuss.

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