Bachelor of Arts
Literatures in English
By reading different surfaces of Moby-Dick (1851), from the figurative to the material to the embodied, I examine how surface is a relational state. This essay tracks Ishmael’s textual participation with surfaces—or, in other words, how he comes to read, know, and feel—across relational and sensual modes of affect, form, and materiality. Drawing on material text studies, affect studies, New Materialism, and queer studies, I argue that imagined and actual embodied contact enables a kind of sensory, intimate reading method. I engage bodily textual inscription through “impressibility,” following the sensed impressions occurring at the skin. More broadly, I explicate how the inscrutability of embodied, felt texts reveals Queequeg’s “unfeeling” within a structure of sentimental feeling.
Chun, S. 2022. "Surface Impressions: Materiality, Affect, and Bodily Reading Methods in Melville’s Moby-Dick (1851)" Senior Thesis, Bryn Mawr College.