Viola Meynell's Melville "Unsurpassed"

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This essay considers Viola Meynell's work on Melville during the early 1920s. Although there have long been claims for the importance of her 1920 edition of Moby-Dick in drawing the attention of a fresh generation of writers to Melville, little attention has been paid to the sources of Meynell's interest in Moby-Dick or to the position of her work within established narratives of the British recovery of Melville. The discussion here sets Meynell's passionate advocacy for Melville alongside that of her sometime friend and fellow Modernist, D.H. Lawrence, before turning to look at how her understanding of Melville's work speaks to traditions of interest in the author that have become obscure: women's reading of Melville, the positioning of his work within a tradition of British fiction and his appeal to writers drawn to Catholicism during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-66
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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