Monday, March 13, 2017

The Magnificent Contributions of Wilson Heflin

Today I had occasion to pass this blurb on to some of Wilson Heflin's Oklahoma cousins.

Melville in Moby-Dick left his “cetological System” standing unfinished, “even as the great Cathedral of Cologne was left, with the crane still standing upon the top of the uncompleted tower.” Wilson Heflin’s study of Melville’s whaling years, magnificent in scope, dazzling in vastness and variety of sources, was left unfinished, one lifetime of devoted scholarship proving not long enough to put the copestone on so heroic an undertaking. Now Heflin’s great narrative is brought into print by "posterity," dedicated scholars from two younger generations, Thomas F. Heffernan and Mary Kay Bercaw Edwards. The reader of Herman Melville’s Whaling Years is offered the top-gallant delight of following a fine mind deeply engaged for decades in a multifarious exploration. In this masterpiece of scholarship, Heflin takes his rightful place as one of the handful of scholars who have added most bounteously to our knowledge of Melville.

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