As a Scholarly Edition housed within a Critical Archive, MEL is committed to making reliable texts of all versions of Melville’s works available to all readers in an interactive and collaborative environment. “Using MEL” is our embodiment of that environment. It will contain our workspace Melville ReMix for creating projects that pull MEL texts and archival materials together in projects for the classroom or publication. It will have links to other MEL tools, such as TextLab, Itinerary, MELCat, and our version of Annotation Studio. It will store ReMix projects, and provide a Forum for discussing them.
To give some sense of what our Using MEL page might contain, we offer examples of how MEL researchers Wyn Kelley (MIT) and Robert K. Wallace (Northern Kentucky University) have already brought scholarship and pedagogy together in separate projects.
When Ishmael “swam through libraries,” after “sailing through oceans,” he had to move physically from one library to another, often under several constraints of space and time. How wonderful it will be to have MEL’s workspace, Melville ReMix, fully operative, enabling us to move from ocean to ocean of Melville’s imagination without restraint. Writing three book-length blogs in the last three years has given me comparable freedom as a teacher / scholar / curator.
My 2014 blog was occasioned by the opportunity to sail on the whale ship Charles W. Morgan from Martha’s Vineyard into New Bedford. Writing about that uniquely Melvillean experience, however, quite fluidly led to entries on the courses I was teaching, the exhibitions I was planning, and the research I was doing in the protean world of Melville and the Arts.
My 2015 blog was occasioned by the Dickinson and Moby-Dick exhibitions of artwork created by students in my classrooms since 1994,
Here too the exfoliating subject branched out in many related directions, including preparations already being made for the two-man and nine-woman exhibitions of Moby-Dick art in Cincinnati that provided the occasion for the 2016 blog I am still writing and posting.
Our lives as readers, writers, teachers, and scholars are not themselves separated into the self-contained domains in which much of our published work appears, so it can be liberating to sail and swim with loose-fish freedom through the electronic libraries and oceans that can bring us ever closer to Melville and each other.