In Moby-Dick's wide philosophical musings and central narrative arch, Daniel Herman finds a philosophy very closely aligned specifically with the original teachings of Zen Buddhism. In exploring the likelihood of this hitherto undiscovered influence, Herman looks at works Melville is either known to have read or that there is a strong likelihood of his having come across, as well as offering a more expansive consideration of Moby-Dick from a Zen Buddhist perspective, as it is expressed in both ancient and modern teachings. But not only does the book delve deeply into one of the few aspects of Moby-Dick's construction left unexplored by scholars, it also conceives of an entirely new way of reading the greatest of American books-offering critical re-considerations of many of its most crucial and contentious issues, while focusing on what Melville has to teach us about coping with adversity, respecting ideological diversity, and living skillfully in a fickle, slippery world.
Acknowledgments Introduction Part 1: Melville's Encounters with Buddhism 1. The Prologue to Buddhist Studies 2. A Universal Absorber 3. Bayle's Dictionary 4. Possibilities and Probabilities 5. Mardi and Other Mysteries Part 2: Ishmael's Way-Seeking Mind 6. Groundlessness 7. Narcissus and Dongshan 8. Searching for Ishmael 9. Whaling Life, Monastic Life 10. Ishmael's Meditation 11. Impermanence and Interdependence 12. Philosophy, Koans, and Silence Part 3: Moby Dick's Inscrutable Selflessness 13. Sarcastic Science 14. The First Principle of All Things 15. Whiteness 16. The Measurements of the Whale Skeleton 17. Ox-Herding Part 4: Captain Ahab's Universe 18. A Factionalized Consciousness 19. Savagery Beyond Savagery 20. Faith and the Three Mates 21. The Doubloon 22. Pip, Who Jumped from a Whale-Boat 23. Ahab's Awakening 24. Pacific Conclusion Bibliography About the Author