From Library Journal
Literature is always open to interpretation, and Melville's Moby-Dick has long been a subject of study for its vast symbolism. Just when everyone thought it had been picked clean, along came James's 1953 study, which takes an economic approach to the novel. James suggests that the doomed ship Pequod, with its full whale-processing facilities, can serve as a symbol for the American factory system, with its workers being used perilously and brought to their untimely deaths by a mad captain of industry at the helm. Strictly for the academics.
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"[An] amalgam of brilliant critical analysis and desperate personal pleading . . . The publication of Mariners, Renegades and Castaways by the University Press of New England this summer – the first time the book has been printed in complete form in nearly 50 years – is simply the latest evidence of a major James revival now under way . . . [James's] posthumous popularity makes sense. Just as he argued that Melville's novel 'is alive today as never before since it was written,' James's work from more than 50 years ago neatly prefigured an impressive number of contemporary academic trends." —New York Times