The Visible Absence of Color: Herman Melville’s Troubled Atheism

  • Adam Lipszyc


This chapter focuses on the understanding of atheism that can be extracted from the writings of Herman Melville. After a preliminary discussion of the sociopolitical aspect of the matter, the author shows how Melville tried to express a metaphysical experience of “troubled atheism”. This kind of atheism amounts to the loss of faith in the logical coherence of the world, in the possibility of undistorted communication, and finally in the very stability of one’s own self. In order to reconstruct the nature of the troubled atheism, the author focuses on Melville’s phenomenology of the sea calm expounded in Mardi, as well as on his metaphysics of whiteness developed in Moby-Dick. Finally, rival strategies of dealing with this experience are discussed in the chapter.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam Lipszyc
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of SciencesWarsawPoland

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