Melville Week: A Celebration of Herman’s 200th Birthday

The Berkshire County Historical Society will present – for the third year in a row – a special four-day event at Herman Melville’s Arrowhead in the historic red barn where he often met with Nathanial Hawthorne: the MOBY-DICK MARATHON.

This is a very special year, with Melville’s 200th Birthday on August 1. That day will begin at The Berkshire Athenaeum in downtown Pittsfield with the dedication of a memorial plaque from the American Library Association designating Pittsfield as a Literary Landmark City for the presence of Herman Melville from 1850 through 1863 during which time he wrote MOBY-DICK, or The Whale (1851), PIERRE, or The Ambiguities (1852), ISRAEL POTTER: His Fifty Years in Exile (1855), THE PIAZZA TALES (1856), THE CONFIDENCE MAN (1857) and began his work on BATTLE PIECES AND ASPECTS OF WAR, CLAREL, A POEM AND PILGRIMAGE IN THE HOLY LAND and other works.

The MARATHON reading of MOBY-DICK begins on Friday, August 2nd at 10:00am until 5:00pm; it continues on Saturday August 3rd at 10:00am through 5:00pm. On Sunday, August 4th the marathon will continue starting at 1:00pm through 5pm; and concludes on Monday, August 5th starting at 10:00am.

On Sunday morning August 4th the annual walk up Monument Mountain on Route 7 in Great Barrington, celebrating the historic meeting of Melville and Hawthorne begins at 9:00am. It is sponsored by The Trustees of Reservations and includes a reading of William Cullen Bryant’s historic poem about the mountain as well a champagne celebration.

August 1, Melville’s birthday, is also Old Salt’s Day when any person whose career has included time at sea – in any capacity including Pirate – can tour Arrowhead FREE. The day will begin with tours of The Melville Room at the Athenaeum, 1 Wendell Avenue, Pittsfield, the dedication of the plaque at 1:00pm, then tours at Arrowhead with musical performances by Woody Printz and ends with a special fund-raising birthday party for the Historical Society at Arrowhead at The Country Club of Pittsfield at 4:30 with a special presentation by Tina Packer. This country club celebration is a ticketed event.

For more information call Peter Bergman at 413-442-1793, extension 14.