Category Archives: Public Lectures

Moby-Dick Lecture Series Begins April 17th

The Moby-Dick lecture series begins on Wednesday April 17th, 1-2pm, at the Merseyside Maritime Museum 4th Floor Lecture Theatre with a talk entitled ‘From Liverpool’s Greenland Street to Greenland’s Liverpool Coast: William Scoresby Jr., Whaling, and Exploration’ by Dr. Chris Routledge. The talk will offer a brief history of whaling in Liverpool and consider William Scoresby Jr.’s short career as a Liverpool whaler. Snubbed by the Admiralty, Scoresby attempted to explore and document the Arctic regions alongside his commercial duties as the commander of a whale ship.

More information about the lecture series is here. It is still not too late to volunteer to read in the Moby-Dick marathon. For more information, visit this page.

Moby-Dick Marathon Weekend: Talks on Scrimshaw and Melville in Liverpool

Apart from the marathon reading (you can volunteer to read a chapter here if you haven’t already) there is a full programme of events for adults and children taking place at the Merseyside Maritime Museum and the Museum of Liverpool over the weekend of May 4th-6th. In this post I want to highlight two of the free talks taking place over the weekend.

On Saturday, May 4th, Dr. Janet West, from the Scott Polar Research Institute, will be talking about Scrimshaw in the Age of Moby-Dick (3pm-4pm Merseyside Maritime Museum). Scrimshaw was a craft that began on whaling ships and involved carving, cutting and polishing whale teeth and bones. These illustrated whale hunts, or recorded important events during voyages; they are often very beautiful. You can see examples of scrimshaw in the Museum as part of the Whale Trail. Dr. West’s talk promises to give fascinating insights into this rare art form.

On Monday May 6th, at the Museum of Liverpool, the focus shifts to the time Herman Melville, author of Moby-Dick, spent in Liverpool, with Katie McGettigan’s talk ‘Sailors love this Liverpool’: Herman Melville and Liverpool in Fact and Fiction (2pm-3pm Museum of Liverpool).

Melville visited Liverpool twice, and used the city as the setting for part of his 1849 novel Redburn, which describes the adventures of a young sailor on his first voyage. Examining both Melville’s real-life and literary dealings with the city, this talk will look at what Melville might have experienced as a sailor visiting Liverpool in the 1840s, before looking at Melville’s representation of Liverpool and its people in his fiction. An interactive map of Melville’s Liverpool is here.

The full programme of events for adults and children is here. If you haven’t yet volunteered to read a chapter in the marathon, you can do so here. Most available places are now on Sunday 5th and Monday 6th of May.

Provisional Programme for Maritime Lectures

In the weeks before and after the weekend of our marathon reading, there will be a series of accessible public lectures exploring Liverpool’s connection with Melville and Moby Dick, mythologies of whaling, whaling in Liverpool, and the whaling industry in Liverpool and the Northwest, and on whales and marine conservation. The programme is starting to shape up, so I thought I would share what we have so far:

Maritime Lectures 2013, Wednesdays 17, 24 April, 1, 8, 15, 22 May

At the Merseyside Maritime Museum, 4th floor lecture theatre, 1-2pm.

Provisional programme:

  • Dr Chris Routledge on Scoresby and Liverpool whaling, whaling and science etc.  April 17 Date confirmed.
  • Gavin Hunter (archivist at Port Sunlight) on the Harris Whaling Station bought by Lord Leverhulme to supply his soap works with whale oil. April 24 Date confirmed.
  • Melville, Moby Dick and Liverpool– impact & about the book; Melville’s connection to Liverpool. May 1 To be confirmed.
  • Mythology of whales and whaling, Innuits/Canadian first nations. N West coast mythology. Objects in museum. May 8 To be confirmed.
  • Dr Bernard Stonehouse (Scott Polar Institute, University of Cambridge). Liverpool and the establishment of whaling fleets. May 15 Date confirmed.
  • Whale/Marine Conservation. May 22 To be confirmed.