1. Benito Cereno By Herman Melville (Introduction)

Updated: Oct 12




In part one of this series I argue why it is of critical importance for all Americans to read this novella by Herman Melville before it is too late. In it are critical observations about the American spirit, and an underlying philosophy that is currently tearing us apart.


Melville's story, published in 1855, is a thriller/mystery based on a true story. In 1799 an American Whaling Captain, Amasa Deleno, espies a ship in distress off the coast of Chile. As a good American, he goes to the rescue, bringing food and water. Upon boarding the ship, however, he begins to perceive odd behavior that he cannot explain.


In this introduction, I describe the core epistemological quandary of this character, and of our own lives in America today.


Stories should be experienced and enjoyed as stories, but nonetheless, with some guidance, I will help to show you how this classic tale can breath insight into your own daily life.


In this episode I discuss how Nihilism is an important idea to understand when reading Melville's work. Here is Professor Onkar Ghate discussing Nihilism: