Professor types article explaining Melville's 'Typee'

Dec 5, 2012 | General News, Liberal Arts

Dr. Nicole de Fee, an assistant professor of English at Louisiana Tech, said she loves Herman Melville, who is known for writing “Moby Dick,” for how much he knows.
“When you read his stories, it is filled with Shakespeare, Milton and Chaucer,” she said. “He wasn’t afraid to put out a book with multiple chapters about a whale.”
De Fee has written an article about Melville and his story “Typee” in a series of articles about his work titled “Critical Insights: Herman Melville,” published by the Salem Press.
“I really want people to see the imperial critique,” de Fee said. “He was not like the Melville we like to think of. He was an important author after colonization of the United States.”
According to de Fee, “Typee” is his first book, which is a fictionalized version of his experience while being captive on an island full of cannibals.
Salem Press editor Eric Carl Link contacted de Fee to see if she would like to write the essay for the book. She agreed. This was her first article published.
“The hardest part was getting started,” she said, jokingly. “But once I did get started, I had to make sure it was accessible for not only scholars and college students, but also for high school seniors.”
In order to achieve this goal, de Fee said she had to do further research and summarize it in the essay.
“I really had to try and define everything,” she said. “I had to go more in-depth of what I was writing. It had more of an explanation than a theory.”
The book itself is intended for a starting point for students or scholars who want to study Melvile and can be used for academic researchers. De Fee’s article centralizes more on his first book, “Typee.”
According to Link, the article provides a “reading of Melville’s first novel ‘Typee,’ through the lens of postcolonial theory, which not only serves language and concepts related to postcolonialism, but also to expose the complex web of political and social relations in the novel that allow Melville to comment in complicated and nuanced ways on Western imperialism and national identity.”
Written by Derek J. Amaya