Melville’s Moby-Dick: An American Nekyia
The great American novel Moby-Dick describes symbolically the stormy spiritual voyage of Herman Melville. It is also a profound expression of Western civilization in transition.
Dr. Edinger approaches Moby-Dick as a psychological document, a symbolic record of an intense inner experience which, like a dream, needs interpretation and elaboration of its images for their meaning to emerge fully. His exploration serves three ends:
- It elucidates the psychological significance of Moby-Dick.
- It demonstrates the Jungian approach to symbolic material.
- It illustrates many of the basic therapeutic concepts of Jung’s analytical psychology.
Central to this penetrating commentary is the concept of nekyia, a term borrowed from the Odyssey of Homer, signifying a descent to the underworld – that is, an encounter with the collective unconscious. Thus, the subtitle of this work underscores the correspondence between the deep internal struggle from which Melville’s masterpiece emerged and the hidden complexities within us all.