Herman Melville had deep ties to the land and deep ties to the sea. He loved the Berkshire Hills, where his uncle had a farm and where he spent many summers during his youth. Yet at the age of 22, Melville did not head to the Berkshires. Instead, he went to sea. Melville shipped out of Massachusetts on board the Acushnet, a whaler bound for the Pacific; he spent three years working his way through the islands, often on his own. The experience had a profound impact on his life and his writing.
Reflections on Melville is an exhibit at Arrowhead, Herman Melville’s home in the Massachusetts Berkshires. It looks at the landscape through the eyes of a seaman, whaler, and artist to uncover “how Melville himself was inspired by his surroundings and memories to create the novel that changed American Literature”.
When Melville gazed at Mount Greylock from his study window at Arrowhead, he saw not only soil, rock, and trees, but a large whale breaching the ocean’s surface. The author lived at Arrowhead for 13 years, writing some of his finest works there, including Moby-Dick. The landscape was his muse.
Through “photography and contemporary art, Moby-Dick and the late Herman Melville are interpreted like they’ve never been before”. Relections on Melville is a fascinating exhibit created by photographer Kay Canavino and artist Arthur Yanoff. It reveals how the Berkshires impacted Herman Melville and his writing.
Arrowhead is less than 10 miles from our Berkshires Bed and Breakfast. It’s open daily from Memorial Day Weekend to Columbus Day, in early October. Reflections on Melville runs until Arrowhead closes in 2011 for the winter.
Guests of our Bed and Breakfast Berkshires have been known to bike to Arrowhead from the inn. The ride is particularly lovely at this time of year.
Additional information abut the author, his home, and the exhibit is available at Arrowhead. All quotes in this post are from that site.