Mellville’s interest in the visual arts and the translation of that interest into his writings is at the center of this new interdisciplinary study of one of America’s most celebrated writers. Melville’s lifelong engagement with the visual arts has been noted in other works, but only Savage Eye suggest the extraordinary depth and range of the author’s multifaceted interest in the subject. Editor Christopher Sten has collected 13 essays from 12 specialists in the field to produce this groundbreaking study which connects Melville’s writings with topics relating to the arts of painting, printmaking, sculpture, architecture and landscape design, as well as art history. Sten’s comprehensive introduction provides readers with a historical overview of the subject, detailing the many works of art Melville knew and commented upon at each stage of his career. He explains when and where in Melville’s wanderings throughout America, Europe, and the Near East he saw these works, then describes how Melville made use of the life and work of these artists in his own fiction and poetry. Savage Eye argues persuasively that the visual arts sources are comparable in importance to the literary arts in the formation of Melville’s work and vision. The contributors thus lead the reader to an appreciation of the rich array of artistic images that were available to Americans of the previous century, and thereby extend not only our understanding of Melville, but of ourselves and our collective history.
The Kent State University Press is the publishing arm of Kent State University. Our imprint is controlled by an editorial board composed of Kent faculty scholars. As a member of the Association of American University Presses, the Press is included in the select group of more than 100 university-sponsored scholarly presses, whose outstanding programs make them an important segment of the academic and publishing communities.The Press began in 1965 under the direction of Howard Allen and published in the University faculty strengths in literary criticism. In 1972 Paul Rohmann became the Press’s second director and expanded the Press’s publishing program to include regional studies and ethnomusicology. In 1985 historian John Hubbell assumed the directorship and grew the staff and publishing program to include widely regarded lists in Civil War and Ohio history. Today, under director Will Underwood, the Press annually publishes two journals and 35 titles in history, literature, and regional studies that further knowledge of the humanities and preserve and promote a literate society.