St. Paul

  • Brian R. Pellar
Part of the American Literature Readings in the 21st Century book series (ALTC)


In this chapter, Pellar explores why Melville places an epigraph on the English version of Moby-Dick so that the reader would be given a hint as to an underlying structure that helped power both the plot of the novel and his antislavery allegory. This underlying structure is the conversion of St. Paul and his shipwreck off the Island of Malta. Pellar gives a brief outline of this sub-allegory that the Pequod follows in Ahab’s mad lust for revenge. Furthermore, Pellar discusses how it is the conversion of St. Paul that is particularly significant and gives Ishmael and his story its moral authority and appeal.


Moral Authority Title Page Moving Land American Version Paradise Lost 
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  1. Birk, John F. Tracing the Round: The Astrological Framework of Moby-Dick. London: Minerva Press, 2000.Google Scholar
  2. Karcher, Carolyn L. Shadow Over the Promised Land: Slavery, Race, and Violence in Melville’s America. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1980.Google Scholar
  3. Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick. 1851. Edited by Harrison Hayford and Hershel Parker. New York: W. W. Norton, 1967b. Page numbers are to the 1967 edition.Google Scholar
  4. Melville, Herman. Correspondence. Vol. 14, Writings of Herman Melville. Edited by Lynn Horth. Evanston and Chicago: Northwestern Univ. Press and the Library, 1993.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian R. Pellar
    • 1
  1. 1.BostonUSA

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