This annotation was completed as a honors thesis project in partial fulfillment for the requirements of the Department of English at Vassar College and could not have been possible without the help of an enormous number of friends, mentors, and professors. The ever-helpful and mercifully flexible Professor Hua Hsu was my advisor for this project, but he wasn't the only one; a whole gaggle of professors (John Ahern, Susan Kuretsky, Yvonne Elet, Paul Kane, and Andrew Tallon) were instrumental in helping me find answers to some of Melville's more enigmatic allusions. The winner of that group is Paul Kane who, with the help of his wife — an expert in tapestry restoration — was able to figure out what on earth a "fly stitch" is.
Another thank you is in order to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, which, in addition to hosting this website, also taught me nearly everything I know about maritime studies. In particular, Michael Lapides has been a constant source of support, an advisor for both my Art History and English theses, and a major advocate for me at the museum. I am hugely honored to still work with the New Bedford Whaling Museum, though my internship there ended in 2009.
All this started for me in high school when I read Moby-Dick in Robert Mulgrew's senior English seminar at The Bishop's School. I've been wrestling with Melville ever since. From there, it wasn't long before I sailed off into New Bedford to a whole whaley world of maritime literature with Stuart Frank at the helm. It could happen to you. Be careful reading Melville: if you spend too long staring into the void, you may very well find something blinking back.