Sacred Uncertainty

Paper Text – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3179-8

E-book – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3072-2

Cloth Text – $99.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3071-5
Publication Date
April 2015
Page Count
256 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Sacred Uncertainty

Religious Difference and the Shape of Melville's Career
Brian Yothers

Yothers’ Sacred Uncertainty examines Melville’s engagement with religious difference, both within American culture and around the world. It is impossible to understand Melville’s wider engagement with religious and cultural questions, however, without understanding the fundamental tension between self and society, self and others that underlies his work, and that is manifested in particular in the way in which he interacts with other writers. There is almost certainly no more concrete or reliable way to get at Melville’s affirmations of and arguments with these interlocutors than in the markings and annotations that appear in his copies of many of their works, so Yothers examines Melville’s marginalia for clues to Melville’s thinking about self, other, and difference. Sacred Uncertainty provides a much needed exploration of Melville’s encounter with and reflection upon religious difference.
About the Author

BRIAN YOTHERS is a professor of English at the University of Texas, El Paso. He is the author of Melville’s Mirrors: Literary Criticism and America’s Most Elusive Author and The Romance of the Holy Land in American Travel Writing, 1790–1876. Yothers is the associate editor of Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies, a coeditor of the travel section of the Melville Electronic Library, an associate editor for Melville’s Marginalia Online, a coeditor of the interdisciplinary journal Journeys, and an editor for the book series Literary Criticism in Perspective.

"[T]he scholarly value of Sacred Uncertainty is . . . best measured by the narrative arc it sustains. From this vantage point, Yothers makes a vital contribution to our understanding of Melville’s religious thought and its importance for his artistic project. As a contribution to Melville biography as well as criticism, this is a book not to be missed by any reader serious about connecting Melville’s works to a larger understanding of his authorial project." —Leviathan