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What Does Literature Feel Like?

“Squeezing Case(s)” with Melville: A Haptic Reading of “The Whiteness of the Whale”

Édouard Marsoin

Résumés

Cet article propose une relecture haptique du chapitre « The Whiteness of the Whale » de Moby-Dick. De même qu’Ismaël aborde des questions épistémologiques de manière tactile, l’article explore la mise en scène des capacités affectives, épistémologiques et littéraires du toucher dans la fiction de Melville. En discutant certains travaux antérieurs sur l’hapticité chez Melville et en s’appuyant sur la critique récente qui s’intéresse au rôle des sens dans la lecture, il commence par souligner les tendances synesthésiques de la fiction melvillienne, où la vue et le toucher, l’impalpable et le palpable, s’entremêlent dans la quête d’une « vérité visible ». Il examine ensuite comment, dans « The Whiteness of the Whale », le visuel devient palpable. En effet, soulignant de manière sous-jacente la singularité des textures, la méditation d’Ismaël sur la blancheur produit deux discours simultanés, également valables bien que contradictoires : une lecture haptique permet d’extraire des sensations tactiles de ce chapitre intensément visuel. Elle met également en lumière les implications raciales problématiques d’une catégorie qui efface les différences et promeut un semblant de blancheur pure et abstraite. Lire le célèbre paragraphe final du chapitre comme un tableau permet de souligner la qualité phénoménologique et haptique des couleurs à travers leurs textures, ce qui nuance les lectures traditionnelles de ce chapitre qui assimilent la blancheur à un vide terrifiant. La véritable épistémologie du toucher chez Melville se situe donc dans la reconfiguration de la vue en toucher – ce que j’appelle un processus de devenir-synesthésique, qui est révélateur de la manière dont la littérature peut sentir et faire sentir – plutôt que dans un simple renversement de la hiérarchie entre ces deux sens. En définitive, cet article souligne l’importance de la synesthésie dans la singularité du discours littéraire et son impact sur nos manières de lire et penser.

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  • 1 For recent scholarship on practices and conceptualizations of reading in the nineteenth-century Uni (...)

1Among the recent debates animating American literary scholarship, the status of the senses and the role of affects have been central in both the critical reevaluation of the human sensorium in literary studies (Fretwell, 2018 2) and the reassessment of how critics read (Felski, 2008; 2015). Melville’s fiction, as often, is a case in point. It invites us to question how to read the textual representation and problematization of the senses as well as to fully recognize the role of the senses in the act of reading.1 One sense in particular acquires critical importance in Melville’s oeuvre, i.e. touch, and its correlate, the feel of a surface, or texture.

  • 2 This opposition between the head and the heart is recurring in Melville, and The Confidence-Man can (...)

2When Ishmael, in the “Squeeze of the Hand” chapter of Moby-Dick (1851), declares himself “ready to squeeze case eternally,” he is referring to squeezing the part of the whale’s head that contains spermaceti, but he also plays with the term “cases” in the same paragraph: “I have perceived that in all cases man must eventually lower, or at least shift, his conceit of attainable felicity” (Melville, 1988 416). I am thus inclined to squeeze the term myself and connect it to the “cases” of “casuists” mentioned by the cosmopolitan in Melville’s last published novel, The Confidence-Man (1857): “Let casuists decide the casuistry, but the compassion the heart decides for itself” (191), which suggests an opposition between the head and the heart, thinking and feeling, epistemology and affect.2 However, in “A Squeeze of the Hand,” Ishmael acts as a touch-based epistemological casuist, combining touching, feeling and thinking. Following his way of “squeezing cases” and touching upon epistemological issues, this essay explores how Melville’s fiction dramatizes the affective, epistemological, and literary capabilities of touch.

  • 3 Similarly, Christopher Looby has described the “phenomenological structure” of touch in the “Counte (...)
  • 4 See Robertson: “Moby-Dick contemplates the same questions posed by philosophical idealism, yet it e (...)

3In Melville’s Anatomies (1999), Samuel Otter has demonstrated how Melville elaborates in Moby-Dick “an alternative epistemology based not on sight but on touch” (134). In an otherwise “intensely visual” novel, Otter argues, chapters like “A Squeeze of the Hand”—with its remarkable “lack of emphasis on sight”—or the initial encounter between Ishmael and Queequeg—where “Melville represents male exchange through touch as an alternative way of knowing other bodies”—show that touch can be “detached from light and sight” and represents another way of making out the differences between bodies (159-161).3 More recently, Lisa Robertson has recapitulated the longstanding debate over Melville as idealist or anti-idealist and concluded: “Although bodily contact with one’s fellows does not unveil the secrets of the universe, it does alleviate the unbearable knowledge that it is unknowable. It also momentarily alleviates the existential human condition of solitude” (17). As this quote evinces, her essay intermingles epistemology (how to know) and ethics (how to live). There is a clear tension and even contradiction between the two, noticeable from the essay’s title, with its emphasis on what she terms (rather oxymoronically) Melville’s “redemptive epistemology of touch,” down to its conclusion.4 From what Robertson describes, touch is not so much an epistemological solution as an ethical one: it offers a way of being comforted (“redeemed”) for the impossibility of knowing. As a result, what she calls an “epistemology of touch” might be more accurately described as a “sympathy of touch.”

  • 5 Peter Coviello has noted that the joyous, communal effect of squeezing sperm is essentially momenta (...)

4However, if there is indeed something redemptive about touch in Melville’s fiction—especially for Ishmael in Moby-Dick, as has been frequently argued—it is not always unambiguously so. The sympathy of touch is a (bodily) performance that can be felicitous or infelicitous, depending on the actors and context, hence essentially precarious and ephemeral.5 It can also turn into its opposite, a deteriorating touch and a threat to self, in other works by Melville. In White-Jacket (1850), for example, bodies in contact are “like pears closely packed,” which “mutually decay through close contact” and give rise to the unspeakable sexual acts of the “wooden-walled Gomorrahs of the deep” (375-376). In Pierre; or, The Ambiguities (1852), the casket “wherein we have placed our holiest and most final joy,” the narrator declares, can be “picked and desecrated at the merest stranger’s touch” (69). In “Benito Cereno” (1855), Babo’s touch is an instrument of power: it leaves its domineering mark upon Benito Cereno in the shaving scene, where Delano notes that Babo’s “impromptu touches evinc[e] the hand of a master” (87)—the irony of the term “master” is not lost on the reader. Finally, in The Confidence-Man, Goneril’s “strange way of touching, as by accident, the arm or hand of comely young men” is an “evil-touch” that fuels “a touching case”: the story of her husband’s misery (61-62).

  • 6 See for instance Hegel’s Aesthetics (1835) on the privilege of sight and hearing as “ideal senses” (...)

5In their respective assessments of touch in Moby-Dick, Samuel Otter and Lisa Robertson tend to detach sight (as racially biased or inconclusive) from touch (as something that can overcome the very limitations of sight), and even oppose them, which entails a reversal of the traditional hierarchy between the two senses.6 However, as often in Melville, distinctions do not always hold. Pilar Martínez Benedí and Ralph Savarese’s recent reading of the “Counterpane” chapter of Moby-Dick stresses the “sensory confusion” of Ishmael in bed with Queequeg, which leads to enhanced “emotional empathy” and “invisible sensations of nondifference” (130). “Confusion” is, I believe, an accurate term to describe what is at stake in this chapter. Accordingly, the point of the present essay is to explore how sight and touch can become reconciled, or rather, in some cases, blurred. Indeed, I will not focus on touch as a way of knowing detached from sight, but instead will wonder how, in literary discourse, one can merge into the other while retaining elements of epistemological critique. Sight and touch become caught in the general dynamics of becoming that characterizes Melville’s fiction: a process of becoming-synesthetic. Conceptual distinctions between the senses become blurred through the combined effects of multi-sensorial metaphors. Literature is thus uniquely capable of producing effects of synesthesia.

  • 7 Another such moment is “The Mast-Head,” as read by Pilar Martínez Benedí.

6In “The Whiteness of the Whale,” the visual becomes palpable. The chapter presents what the narrator of Omoo would call “a curious case of casuistry” (163): through a singular, underlying focus on textures, Ishmael’s discourse on whiteness performs a simultaneous, equally valid though contradictory alternative to what it says. Recovering the haptic quality of this chapter thus leads us to recognize the specific effects of touch and texture on the way we think and the way we read. This is not just a question of reading according to scale (in a close or distant reading) but also of reading and feeling otherwise, reading phenomenologically. As Eve K. Sedgwick has argued: “If texture and affect, touching and feeling seem to belong together, then, it is not because they share a particular delicacy of scale, such as would necessarily call for ‘close reading’ or ‘thick description.’ What they have in common is that at whatever scale they are attended to, both are irreducibly phenomenological” (21). Following Sari Altschuler’s haptic reading of the Scarlet Letter, which seeks to “rethink what we call close reading” (95) and the impact of how we read—since reading too visually, for Altschuler, runs the risk of reproducing the stigmatization of Hester (108)—the present essay underlines another risk of overemphasizing sight over touch or simply opposing them when we read: that of misperceiving and misunderstanding whiteness. Indeed, “The Whiteness of the Whale” is one of those key moments in Moby-Dick in which the senses come to interrogate concepts.7 Foregrounding not only the visual dimension of the “whiteness of the whale” but also its haptic phenomenological quality unsettles canonical readings of this chapter that equate whiteness with terrifying emptiness. It also highlights the problematic racial implications of a category that erases differences and promotes a semblance of pure, abstract whiteness.

Melville’s Haptic Critiques of Thinking

  • 8 Melville acquired in 1847 the 1846 reprint of the Webster’s Dictionary 1841 edition (Sealts 225).

7Melville’s critique of thinking is often haptic in nature, opposing the palpable and the impalpable, but also blurring the two. According to the Webster’s Dictionary of 1841, the term palpable had several meanings in the mid-nineteenth-century United States, including a haptic one (“perceptible by the touch”) and an epistemological one (“plain, obvious, easily perceptible, as proof”).8 The use of the category by Melville connects both meanings.

  • 9 This phrase was wrongly transcribed (by Julian Hawthorne) as “usable truth” and remained so for a v (...)

8In a well-known passage from his correspondence with Hawthorne, Melville seemed to value sight as the main epistemological sense, writing that the object of the “Great Art of telling the Truth” is “the visible truth”: “We think that into no recorded mind has the intense feeling of the visable [sic] truth ever entered more deeply than into [Hawthorne’s]. By visable truth, we mean the apprehension of the absolute condition of present things as they strike the eye of the man who fears them not(Melville, 1993 186; emphasis mine). Interestingly, however, this “visable truth” already tends towards the haptic through the use of a gestural metaphor: it “strikes” the eye.9 Moreover, in Melville’s terms, knowing the truth is equivalent to “feeling” it. Similarly, in “Hawthorne and His Mosses” (1850), he combines the optical and the haptic when describing what makes Shakespeare Shakespeare: the optical image of “those occasional flashings-forth of the intuitive Truth” is complemented by the haptic one of “those short, quick probings at the very axis of reality” (244). This suggests that the quest for truth is an experience and an experiment in which both optical and haptic senses are involved, that is, the entire body of the seeker of truth.

9In Melville’s novels, this interest in haptic ways of knowing is illustrated in a recurring opposition between the “impalpable” and the “palpable” that eventually collapses. In Mardi, the narrator criticizes Berkeley’s immaterialism in terms that underline the material quality of the knowing/feeling body:

[…] he resembled my Right Reverend friend, Bishop Berkeley—truly, one of your lords spiritual—who, metaphysically speaking, holding all objects to be mere optical delusions, was, notwithstanding, extremely matter-of-fact in all matters touching matter itself. Besides being pervious to the points of pins, and possessing a palate capable of appreciating plum-puddings:—which sentence reads off like a pattering of hailstones. (63)

10An opposition between the supposed unreality of sight and the reality of taste and skin underwrites this passage: the proof of the pudding is in the eating, the narrator implies—a variation on Samuel Johnson’s famous dismissal of Berkeley by kicking a stone. It also suggests that for him sight might be no more delusional than taste or touch, all senses being considered holistically as proof of material existence. That is completed by the metaleptic perception of the words of this sentence as “hailstones,” which underlines the materiality of language: language can emit sounds that physically touch. Later on, Babbalanja similarly associates thinking, tasting and touching: “My lord, […] defer putting that question, I beseech, till after my appetite is satisfied; for, trust me, no hungry mortal would forfeit his palate, to be resolved into the impalpable” (Melville, 1970 487). Eating comes before thinking, and eating is also a way of touching, since if we follow the logic of this image, what can be eaten is “palpable.” The textual combination of a culinary image and a haptic term suggests an instance of synesthesia: eating is touching with your mouth. Through the use of the category of the “impalpable,” boundaries between senses thus tend to fade, in the same way as in the narrator’s previous mockery of Berkeley boundaries between discursive matters and physical matter tended to be abolished by the pun on “matter” and “touching” (“extremely matter-of-fact in all matters touching matter itself”). A thinking body is a tasting and touching body.

11In Pierre, the same distinction, which follows another reference to Berkeley and “the airy exaltations of the Berkelyan philosophy” (267), is used by the narrator to criticize the transcendentalist Apostles:

Often groping in vain in their pockets, they can not but give in to the Descartian vortices; while the abundance of leisure in their attics (physical and figurative), unites with the leisure in their stomachs, to fit them in an eminent degree for that undivided attention indispensable to the proper digesting of the sublimated Categories of Kant; especially as Kant (can’t) is the one great palpable fact in their pervadingly impalpable lives. (267)

  • 10 The same risk of confusing the palpable and the impalpable is described earlier by Pierre’s narrato (...)
  • 11 This phrase also suggests a fairly traditional opposition between the palpable and the spiritual, t (...)

12The narrator’s irony here is that Kant is neither an edible nor a palpable fact, which suggests that the Apostles, as natural philosophers discussing Descartes’s theory of vortices (according to which space is entirely filled with matter), have lost touch with reality, with what is actually edible/palpable. Pierre’s epiphany at the end of the novel will be described in the same terms: after “seeing” the portrait of an unknown man who looks like Isabel and his father, he returns to “the plain, palpable facts,—how did he know that Isabel was his sister?” (353). Again, a haptic paradox is at work here: although one cannot touch a fact, the image suggests that Pierre had lost touch with reality because of “mystic and transcendental persuasions” that obscured his vision (353)—as the narrator noted earlier, “essentially and relatively every thing is misseen by him” (175).10 At the beginning of the novel, the mystery of the face that triggered Pierre’s downfall was formulated in similar terms, emphasizing its bewildering status and intermingling the haptic, the visual and the (un)knowable: “palpable to the senses, but inscrutable to the soul” (43).11 The category of the “palpable” therefore provides a change of metaphor for the process of thinking: to think correctly is not just to see, but to see and to touch, to be in touch with the palpable. The distinction between the palpable and the impalpable is less strictly a dichotomy than a spectrum, in which the palpable acts as a compass, a reference point for the process of thinking.

  • 12 Examples are numerous in all of Melville’s novels. To give but a few instances: in Omoo, “[Long Gho (...)
  • 13 On the sublimation of taste in the eighteenth century, see Gigante 3-10. Regarding the epistemologi (...)

13Culled from two very different novels, these critiques of Berkeley and of the Apostles underline the problematic status of matter in Melville. The body is central to both novels’ attacks on inaccurate thinking, not only through sight, but also through metaphors of touch. Senses in literary discourse can thus become mixed: to think is to see and to touch, to hear is to be touched, to taste is to touch. In the singular dynamics of literary discourse, it is difficult to separate them since one becomes the other through the effects of interconnected metaphors, which suggests that the way the senses are distinguished and hierarchized is inaccurate: they operate together, and should be considered as a continuum. In Redburn (1849), the Newfoundland fog is described as “palpable obscure” (95), a reference to Milton’s Paradise Lost (56) that interweaves the haptic and the visual to convey the texture of the fog. The same phenomenon is at the core of Melville’s frequent percepts of language as food, according to which to hear is to taste.12 In these conflations of senses, the Miltonian and Shakespearian legacies are clear, and these intertextual connections with the Renaissance and late Renaissance can be understood as a way of bypassing the eighteenth-century overemphasis on sight, to promote instead a general process of becoming-synesthetic through which the senses become blurred.13 This is what literature feels like. As Ralph Savarese argues, and as literary discourse evinces, synesthesia is a form of dynamic relationality that makes experience possible: there are not five strictly separated senses, there is experience (Savarese, 2021). The way we conceptually distinguish between senses is an epistemological convenience that is neither entirely experientially accurate nor ideologically innocent. This is also what one of the most philosophical chapters of Moby-Dick, “The Whiteness of the Whale,” shows us: visuality can become hapticality, and to see is to touch. Touch and textures thus acquire an epistemological function, and synesthesia comes to disrupt both our modes of seeing and our modes of reading.

Touching Seeing: Colors Matter

  • 14 Deleuze and Guattari elaborate on the notion of “haptic” in the plateau of A Thousand Plateaus enti (...)
  • 15 For a comprehensive discussion of what a haptics of reading entails, see Constantinesco. On the dis (...)
  • 16 Savarese thus invites neurotypical readers to bring “close reading” closer to “autistic reading,” t (...)

14The “Whiteness of the Whale” chapter performs a not so obvious case of touching. Reading it as a painting, through the lens of what Erica Fretwell calls “haptic vision, a feeling for the texture and grain of a visual object” (2020 249), which also echoes the notion of “haptic visuality” coined by film scholar Laura Marks (xii-xvii, 2-3) after Deleuze and Guattari,14 enables us to squeeze a sense of touch out of this intensely visual chapter and to uncover a number of structuring tensions and epistemological interrogations between emptiness and fullness, surface and matter, sight and touch. Thus can we perceive anew the “whiteness of the whale,” or, to quote Savarese quoting Shakespeare, “see it feelingly.” While it is true that reading about seeing and touching does not equate with actual seeing or touching, reading haptically requires to actualize and re-activate the implied sensory content of words, read them as percepts and haptic triggers rather than just concepts, see and feel their conveyed textures, and turn them into opportunities for phantom sensations.15 As Savarese notes, recent research in neuroscience and the humanities has shown that there is little difference in the brain between organic and artificial sensory stimuli (2018 38). “Visual imagery,” as Vittorio Gallese and Hannah Wojciehowski further explain, “is somehow equivalent to simulating an actual visual experience, and motor imagery is also somehow equivalent to simulating an actual motor experience. Thus, motor and visual imagery do qualify as further forms of embodied simulation, since they imply re-using our motor or visual neural apparatus to imagine things and situations we are not actually doing or perceiving.” Ultimately, this implies renewed capabilities of reading with our bodies.16 Ishmael invites to such a reading when he suggests that, “in a matter like this,” readers should rely on shared “imaginative impressions” (192; emphasis mine).

  • 17 On the multiplicity of nouns ending in –ness in Pierre, see Jaworski 326-327. Regarding nouns in –n (...)

15The very title, “The Whiteness of the Whale,” encapsulates the ambivalence of the entire chapter: white-ness as a noun is a substantive that suggests a substance—something Ishmael’s phrase confirms when he mentions “this thing of whiteness” (192)—as opposed to white which, as an adjective, is a quality affixed to a catalogue of objects. The suffix –ness has the effect of substantifying the quality of “white,” a linguistic and stylistic effect that Melville also repeatedly uses in Pierre.17 This structuring tension between substance and quality is at the core of the chapter, recapitulating a longstanding interrogation in the Western epistemological tradition that Ishmael acknowledges explicitly when he references “the natural philosophers” (195). In Ishmael’s semiotic and existential meditation on whiteness, however, there is no such a thing as white, there are only white things, which have different textures. The “white bear of the poles” and the “white shark of the tropics” share a “smooth, flaky whiteness” (189; emphasis mine), while the albatross is first and foremost a “feathery thing of unspotted whiteness” in whose “wondrous bodily whiteness […] lurks the secret of the spell” (190; emphasis mine): the reversal of terms in “bodily whiteness” (compared to a more regular “white body”) tends to make whiteness itself bodily. In the numerous percepts Ishmael catalogues as examples of whiteness, whiteness is especially connected with two main types of matter: snow and milk. Both images convey textures just as much as colors: the “snow-white” elephant (188), Jove as “a snow-white bull” (189), the “snowy aspect” of the White Squall (191), the “snowy mantle round our phantoms” (192). Similarly, the “White Steed of the Prairies, a magnificent milk-white charger” has a “cool milkiness” (191), ghosts rise in a “milk-white fog” (192), the midnight sea is of “milky whiteness” (193), a trope repeated in the phrase “milky sea” right after (194). It appears that the effects of whiteness cannot be described without a simultaneous, underlying reference to bodies and textures. The world is full of white-textured things.

  • 18 In “The Whiteness of the Whale,” this feeling is terror. Hurh has proposed a compelling reading of (...)

16This is how we can read for texture, paying attention to the implied textures of these images of whiteness, which are necessary parameters to understand the ontology of whiteness. In Ishmael’s description, bodies are hidden in the color white. Indeed, the “hues” he explicitly mentions are also implicitly textures, and these white-textured objects/bodies affect other bodies. Seeing whiteness is always already feeling it, which in turn triggers epistemological reflections.18 Ishmael encapsulates this effect of whiteness at the beginning of the chapter, stating: “It was the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled me” (188). The verb to appall, as signifier, contains a “pall”: a piece of usually white fabric that covers a coffin. The related image of a “shroud”—a piece of usually white cloth that covers a (dead) body—also recurs several times in the chapter and enshrouds bodies and places—it is combined to another texture, that of marble, in the “marble pallor” of the dead (192); or associated with both skin and fabric when Ishmael explains that “from that pallor of the dead, we borrow the expressive hue of the shroud in which we wrap them” (192). Etymologically, “appall” also means that it makes Ishmael turn “pale,” which suggests that whiteness is primarily characterized by its somatic effects upon the viewer’s body. White bodies affect other bodies: whiteness is the emblem of many “touching, noble things,” says Ishmael (189), but can nevertheless “strike” panic to the soul (181, 189) or “stabs us from behind” (195). The haptic metaphors here (“touching,” “strike,” “stabs”) highlight the somatic impact of whiteness, the necessary presence of bodies in the understanding of this “phenomenon of whiteness” (193). The meditation on whiteness as a separate concept therefore always, in Ishmael’s discourse, refers back to the existence of white, touching matters.

17The potential and potentiality of textures tend to make Ishmael’s “whiteness” not simply a concept, but rather a “conceptual object,” to borrow K.L. Evans’s notion, “postulated to ground and explain relations of qualitative identity and resemblance among individual material objects,” that retains its capacity to put us in touch with the material world, “since it alerts us to the importance of feeling and experience in the way our concepts come to have meaning” (Evans 27). Whiteness as a conceptual object is not just the abstraction of white, but the concretion of a multiplicity of white bodies and textures. Branka Arsić, commenting upon Sharon Cameron’s understanding of materiality, defines it as “the concreteness of things that includes the spiritual, that moves it” (4). White matters achieve such an effect. When Ishmael declares that “Nature in her least palpable but not the less malicious agencies” does not “fail to enlist among her forces this crowning attribute of the terrible” (191), he proceeds with the example of the White Squall: the least palpable agencies of Nature and their capacity to strike spiritually hence appear in palpable matters. The impalpable is only ever met through the palpable, the spiritual through the material.

  • 19 Philippe Jaworski has noted these various shades of white (362-363). See also, in White-Jacket, the (...)

18Moreover, whiteness is never white: if we look at it from a distance (as a concept, whiteness), whiteness is white. But if we look closer at the examples and actively perceive them as sensory phenomena, there are shades of white: the whiteness of the horse, or the shark, or the bear, or the albatross (“the white thing was so white,” 190), is not the whiteness of the whale, which is not entirely white either. As Ishmael notes, compared to his “peculiar snow-white wrinkled forehead, and [his] high, pyramidical white hump,” the “rest of his body” is only “streaked, and spotted, and marbled with the same shrouded hue,” which suggests non-homogenous whiteness on the surface of Moby Dick’s body (183).19

19Samuel Otter writes that “Ishmael’s whiteness exposes the betrayal of all colors, which promise substance but deliver emptiness,” leading to the “loss of color as a foundation for meaning” (138). However, in Ishmael’s textual meditation, colors deliver emptiness only if we consider them optically and conceptually (and if we take some of Ishmael’s assertions literally, for instance when he declares that whiteness “shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe,” 195), not if we look closer and perceive haptically and phenomenologically the haptic images and somatic reactions he describes. Indeed, it is true that whiteness delivers emptiness if “whiteness” in the chapter is understood as an abstract concept, but not so true if we look at it as a material percept. Ishmael’s discourse contains both options, and both appear anamorphically depending on our elected mode of reading, from a distance or closely, or better, phenomenologically. As Savarese perceptively notes, “our capacity for generalization depends upon abstraction, which is to say, ‘the act of considering something as a general quality or characteristic, apart from concrete realities.’ We let our categories—our homogenized, frontal-lobe sense of the world—do much of our seeing, hearing, smelling, and touching for us. Particularity gets lost” (2018 38). As readers, we are also prone to give in to the abstractness and blankness of concepts. What haptic reading and full-bodied reading engagement enable us to do is to go against the grain of this common tendency.

  • 20 Thus can “attend[ing] to the sensory, to the kind of bottom-up processing that disregards categoric (...)

20In that regard, a political and racial reading of whiteness also benefits from a focus on the phenomenology and hapticality of whiteness against abstract categorization. In the wake of Toni Morrison’s influential reading of whiteness in Playing in the Dark (1992), interpretations of this chapter have often been racial and political, following Ishmael’s passing comment that “pre-eminence in [whiteness] applies to the human race itself, giving the white man ideal mastership over every dusky tribe” (189; emphasis mine). For Graham Thompson, for instance, Ishmael’s metaphysics of color “undermines the validity of whiteness as a foundation for racial identity” (29). I would also argue that his physics of color stresses the hegemonic and oppressive quality of the “ideal” concept of whiteness when it comes to encompass and crush individual bodies/textures, as opposed to the phenomenological reality of whiteness which is all about shades and individually textured bodies. In this way, the chapter issues a warning about whiteness used as a hegemonic political and racial category rather than as an infinite spectrum of colors between white and black, which can be linked to Frederick Douglass’s comment in My Bondage and My Freedom (1855) that color “was a very unsatisfactory basis for slavery,” “since persons who were nearly white […] were slaves” (179). To detach whiteness from the multiplicity of its embodied manifestations, and thus disconnect the concept from its material existence, is to risk promoting a misleading, and racist, ideality of the color white. The ideal of whiteness, and its “dumb blankness” (195), thus becomes terrifying indeed. But in touch and texture also lies the resistance of the object-referent, to pastiche Moten (2003), against the totalizations of abstract (optical) language.20

21As Laura Marks notes in her Deleuze-inspired conceptualization of haptic visuality, for Deleuze and Guattari, optical and haptic visions can slide into one another, depending on how close you look (Marks xii). In A Thousand Plateaus, they use the example of a painting: “The law of the painting is that it be done at close range, even if it is viewed from relatively far away” (Deleuze & Guattari, 2004 544). Haptic visuality requires to look closely, to touch with your eyes, to dwell on textures and surfaces. Translated into a mode of reading, it requires to read phenomenologically, and not only conceptually. That is how whiteness can both deliver emptiness and substance, through what Christopher Castiglia calls “the empiricism of surfaces” (226), as we will see by taking a very close look at the final paragraph.

22The final paragraph achieves its haptic quality through the underlying metaphor of painting, which Ishmael introduces a few paragraphs earlier when he refers to “this white-lead chapter about whiteness” (194; emphasis mine). The metaphor of painting works as a “haptic image,” in a sense derived from Marks: an image that “encourage[s] a bodily relationship between the [reader] and the image” (Marks 3). While it is true that an image in a text is not the same as an image in a painting (in Deleuze’s approach) or an image in a film (in Marks’s), a literary image can still achieve such a haptic effect, I argue, when its haptic quality is retrieved behind its conceptual content, that is, when it is not considered only conceptually but also experientially, as not simply designating a reference but also conveying a sensual, textured, and material presence. Such a haptic reading activates our mind’s eye as well as its tactile and sensory-motor imagination, to trigger haptic feelings, or what Ishmael calls “imaginative impressions” (192).

23Read thus, the haptic image of painting blurs the exact content of Ishmael’s epistemological interrogations in the very act of their utterance:

Is it that by its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation, when beholding the white depths of the milky way? Or is it, that as in essence whiteness is not so much a color as the visible absence of color, and at the same time the concrete of all colors; is it for these reasons that there is such a dumb blankness, full of meaning, in a wide landscape of snows—a colorless, all-color of atheism from which we shrink? And when we consider that other theory of the natural philosophers, that all other earthly hues—every stately or lovely emblazoning—the sweet tinges of sunset skies and woods; yea, and the gilded velvets of butterflies, and the butterfly cheeks of young girls; all these are but subtile deceits, not actually inherent in substances, but only laid on from without; so that all deified Nature absolutely paints like the harlot, whose allurements cover nothing but the charnel-house within; and when we proceed further, and consider that the mystical cosmetic which produces every one of her hues, the great principle of light, for ever remains white or colorless in itself, and if operating without medium upon matter, would touch all objects, even tulips and roses, with its own blank tinge—pondering all this, the palsied universe lies before us a leper; and like wilful travellers in Lapland, who refuse to wear colored and coloring glasses upon their eyes, so the wretched infidel gazes himself blind at the monumental white shroud that wraps all the prospect around him. And of all these things the Albino whale was the symbol. Wonder ye then at the fiery hunt? (195; emphasis mine)

  • 21 At the end of the novel, in the final tableau of the chase, Ishmael refers to “that wild simultaneo (...)

24The paradox of whiteness here is that it is both concrete and abstract, material and immaterial. Ishmael describes it as an absence and a presence: “the visible absence of color; and at the same time the concrete of all colors.” The choice of the term concrete to describe the Newtonian notion of white light as a combination of all the colors of the color spectrum retains (contradictorily) its material sense, according to the 1841 Webster’s Dictionary: “A compound; a mass formed by concretion,”a mass or compound body, made up of different ingredients; a mixed body or mass.” This signals an unresolved tension (“at the same time”) between light and matter, and suggests as well a metaphor of color as paint.21 Moreover, here again, white triggers bodily reactions described by haptic images (“stabs us,” “we shrink”): the living, feeling body is at the center of this spectacle. Whiteness exists, if only insofar as it triggers somatic reactions described in haptic terms.

25As far as other colors are concerned, the same principle is at work: they are “at the same time” absent and concrete. Their unreality turns out to be just as debatable if we look closely at the central image used by Ishmael: “all deified Nature absolutely paints like the harlot, whose allurements cover nothing but the charnel-house within,” which alludes simultaneously to the whore of Babylon, “the mother of harlots,” in John (Revelation 17:1-6) and to Claudius’s words in Hamlet: “The harlot’s cheek, beautied with plast’ring art” (Shakespeare 753). In both Melville and Shakespeare, the image is a description of make-up, which is material, a concretion of colors, while at the same time an effect of light, just like color in a painting. The paradox is that the pre-eminence of sight in this passage is simultaneously counterpoised by the focus on texture/matter in the harlot’s make-up/painting. The metaphor of painting, turning the epistemological meditation into ekphrasis, thus invites the reader to become an imaginative viewer and enter into “haptic proximity” with the things Ishmael describes, simultaneously and conflictingly with what his questionings suggest.

  • 22 This traditional philosophical conundrum regarding the relations of sensations and qualities to sub (...)

26On the one hand, deified nature is said to be, like the harlot, a misleading, macabre staging in which “earthly hues” are “subtile deceits” of death and emptiness, but on the other hand, sensations themselves have a patina: first, the universe is still a body (be it a harlot’s body, a palsied body, or a leper’s body); second, the comparing elements used by Ishmael suggest that despite the uncertainty of their references (substances), qualities remain phenomenologically real: “the sweet tinges of sunset skies and woods; yea, and the gilded velvets of butterflies, and the butterfly cheeks of young girls.” The synesthetic combination of colors and textures (velvets, butterflies, cheeks) recall the technique of impasto in painting. Nature’s hues are both surfaces and matter, “laid on from without,” like make-up or colors in a painting, with perhaps no substance underneath, but resisting a vision of complete emptiness, being themselves surface-matters. This again pushes the reader’s look back to the surface of these haptic images, suggesting an attempt not to lose touch with the palpable. A model for such a painting would be Turner, of course, who was known for changing the rules of conventional representation (namely, perspective) and favoring an awareness of surfaces through textures (Gould 88-89). Robert K. Wallace, who has thoroughly documented Melville’s interest in Turner, does not focus on texture in his comparison of Melville and Turner in “The Whiteness of the Whale”; instead he sees white metaphorically as a “ground for the entire novel” (400) (but a ground, in a painting, is a layer of paint). However, what makes this passage truly Turner-like is the passing emphasis on the esthetic presence of texture as a counterpoint to the epistemological argument of emptiness. Furthermore, the material metaphor of painting and the haptic quality of these images also make sense epistemologically, since following Locke’s empirical argument, on which the passage is based, even if secondary qualities are not “actually inherent in substances,” as Ishmael says, they are still valuable insofar as they are psycho-physiological: they derive from the action of bodies upon other bodies, they make (to use Locke’s term) “impressions” on viewers, and they enable them to differentiate bodies (Locke 428).22 Thus, these sensations are real, independently from the substance (knowable or unknowable) of the perceived objects. With this comparison, Ishmael therefore suggests two simultaneous ways of seeing: optically the world may seem empty, haptically it seems full. Here is a true “epistemology of touch”: extending the realm of touch through the haptic potential of textures, Ishmael’s discourse can hold simultaneously two contradicting views on the emptiness or fullness, reality or unreality, of the exterior world. The transcendental (remember Pierre) is unknowable (that’s Kant’s noumenon), but the phenomenon is palpable. What this ekphrasis of the world as painting triggers is what Massumi would call an “experiential confound” which makes apparent “what the philosopher unsees”: a “synesthetic confusion” (168) that leads us, along with Ishmael, to question our concept of color.

  • 23 See his Opticks: or, A Treatise of the Reflections, Refractions, Inflections and Colours of Light ( (...)
  • 24 Greiman has recently conducted a thorough examination of Melville’s response to Goethe’s theory of (...)
  • 25 The fact that the main haptic images here are the harlot’s make-up and the butterfly cheeks of youn (...)
  • 26 In Ishmael’s words: “in many natural objects, whiteness refiningly enhances beauty” (188) but in ot (...)

27All in all, we should not read too assertively what Ishmael says tentatively in a series of rhetorical questions and hypothetical phrases such as “when we consider,” “when we proceed further and consider,” and above all with the ultimate suspension of “if.” Ishmael is in the process of thinking, which enables him to say two things at the same time. In his final statement, everything hinges around a capital “if”: “the mystical cosmetic which produces every one of [Nature’s] hues, the great principle of light, for ever remains white or colorless in itself, and if operating without medium upon matter, would touch all objects, even tulips and roses, with its own blank tinge” (195; emphasis mine). Precisely, white light does not touch matter without a medium (air or water), the world is still colored. The evil-touch of white light is hypothetical and counterfactual. The blank “white light,” here a reference to Newton’s optical theory of light,23 could thus be opposed to Goethe’s more haptic conception of color in Theory of Colours (1810), which, as Jennifer Greiman explains, “[insists] on the triple materiality of color—as the somatic experiences of the eye, as physical acts of light, and as products of chemical substances” (2015 423).24 In Ishmael’s description of colors, the reader, invited to become viewer, is faced with the paradox of emptiness and fullness: the potential vanity of references is counterpoised by the fullness of sensations. In this tableau of deified nature, Ishmael is painting a vanitas in the pictorial sense of the term, an essentially ambivalent baroque genre, between memento mori and vital celebration (Vuillemin 284).25 For the reader/viewer, sensations can be both suspicious and real: their truth is produced and not deduced, exhibited (in the world as painting) and affective, since they communicate themselves somatically to a perceiving subject (with affects of joy or anguish). To return to Ishmael’s initial comment at the outset of the chapter: whiteness is an intensifier, “an intensifying agent” (195), which makes things of beauty, or things of terror, all the more present.26 This leads to emphasizing what Maldiney calls the “pathic moment” of sensation (“moment pathique”) before its “representational moment” (“moment représentatif”), the texture of phenomena rather than their substantial origins (14). As Herman Parret has explained, commenting upon Deleuze, for haptic sensibility there are only surfaces without depth, without the interposition of an interpretative or semiotic distance (444). Matter shows itself present, despite the potentiality of “ifs.”

  • 27 This harks back to Mardi’s haptic critique of Berkeley: you cannot necessarily ascertain the identi (...)

28What is the albino whale then a symbol of? Of the impossibility of knowing the substance which is concomitant with the reality of the surface-body.27 As an epistemologist, Ishmael considers the possibility of emptiness. As an esthete, he sees a world of material presence. And he holds both positions simultaneously. The “whiteness” of the whale, like the whale itself, to paraphrase Ishmael, is one of the “plainest and most palpable wonders of the world,” not just a “hideous and intolerable allegory” (205; emphasis mine).

  • 28 Martínez Benedí and Savarese have put into question Ahab’s abstract idealism, arguing that “for Aha (...)

29“The Whiteness of the Whale” thus dramatizes the dynamics of becoming: a concept can never entirely be assimilated to the sum of its objects, or an object become reducible to its associated concept. The chapter interrogates the vexed relations between concepts and phenomena, and a haptic reading of it illuminates the way the ideal and the material need not be opposed, but can be simultaneously perceived as the two sides of the same coin in the ontology of whiteness. Similarly, the clear conceptual boundaries one could establish between the senses in philosophical discourse fade away in the singular dynamics of literary discourse. One might expect a primacy of sight in Ishmael’s discourse on whiteness, but his text also points to the texture of colors. Reading “The Whiteness of the Whale” haptically and synesthetically highlights how sight and touch are not detached but poetically combined. We are touched by what we see, and this makes what we see “palpable.” In other words, what we see matters. Part of the general synesthetic quality of Melville’s fictional worlds—which are exemplary of how literature can feel like and invite us to feel like—comes from this use of percepts that depict seeing as touching, tasting as touching, hearing as tasting, and tend to de-hierarchize the senses and recombine them in the act of feeling/knowing the presence of the physical world. Senses and sensations can be simultaneously misleading (as to the reality of their references) and true (per se). There lies perhaps the core difference between Ishmael’s and Ahab’s epistemological stances: not so much in the redemptive power of touch, but in the reconfiguration of seeing as touching. For Ahab’s desperate idealism, there might be “naught” beyond “visible objects,” the “pasteboard masks” of reality (164), and nothing sensual in the act of seeing/perceiving itself, hence his nihilistic call to “strike through the mask” (164).28 For Ishmael, on the contrary, “some certain significance lurks in all things” (430), just as there “lurks an elusive something in the innermost idea of [white]” (189): that lurking significance is to be found in sensations themselves. So the question is not: what does the harlot’s make-up hide? But rather: what does it show? It shows, I contend, the risks—in our ways of thinking and reading—of yielding to optical and conceptual distance, what Laura Marks calls “the death of abstraction” (xvi), against the haptic life of colors/textures.

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Notes

1 For recent scholarship on practices and conceptualizations of reading in the nineteenth-century United States, see Silverman or Constantinesco; regarding Melville more particularly, see Rebhorn.

2 This opposition between the head and the heart is recurring in Melville, and The Confidence-Man can be read as a series of puzzling epistemological and ethical “cases.” See for instance the title of chapter 21, “A Hard Case,” or “the case of the Missourian” in chapter 23. While the cosmopolitan probably uses the terms “casuist” and “casuistry” in a pejorative sense, I use them in the non-pejorative one of examining practical and empirical “cases” as a starting point for epistemological reflections. This sense is derived from the traditional ethical meaning of “casuistry,” which refers to “the science, art, or reasoning of the casuist; that part of Ethics which resolves cases of conscience, applying the general rules of religion and morality to particular instances in which ‘circumstances alter cases’” (Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. “Casuistry”).

3 Similarly, Christopher Looby has described the “phenomenological structure” of touch in the “Counterpane” chapter of Moby-Dick, as well as Ishmael’s feeling of being “touched into existence” (78).

4 See Robertson: “Moby-Dick contemplates the same questions posed by philosophical idealism, yet it essentially challenges the world view posited by Plato and Emerson by offering sensual somatic experiences as one way to retain one’s sanity in the face of epistemological inscrutability. In response to philosophical idealism Melville offers the redemptive epistemology of touch” (20).

5 Peter Coviello has noted that the joyous, communal effect of squeezing sperm is essentially momentary (124). A final, very touching scene based on the sympathy of touch is provided by Ahab’s final words to Starbuck: “I am old;—shake hands with me, man.” “Their hands [meet]” and Starbuck starts crying (566). This is the closest Ahab gets to what Lisa Robertson would call redemption.

6 See for instance Hegel’s Aesthetics (1835) on the privilege of sight and hearing as “ideal senses” over taste, smell and touch. In the antebellum United States, this traditional hierarchy was also established by Emerson, whose own preference for sight led to the well-known image of the transparent eyeball, a body part that tends to forget it is a body part.

7 Another such moment is “The Mast-Head,” as read by Pilar Martínez Benedí.

8 Melville acquired in 1847 the 1846 reprint of the Webster’s Dictionary 1841 edition (Sealts 225).

9 This phrase was wrongly transcribed (by Julian Hawthorne) as “usable truth” and remained so for a very long time until it was corrected by Harrison Hayford. Interestingly, a truth that is “usable” suggests you can use it, possibly with your hands.

10 The same risk of confusing the palpable and the impalpable is described earlier by Pierre’s narrator, who warns against the “tyranny of a usurper mood” that leads one to seek “the attainment of whatever transcendental object” but instead “emptily embrace[s] the boundless and the unbodied air” (180).

11 This phrase also suggests a fairly traditional opposition between the palpable and the spiritual, through the term “inscrutable” and its religious echoes. But in fact, the two become blurred in the novel. The motif of “palpable” facts and causes is recurring and suggests a coherent isotopy for the figuration of Pierre’s manner of thought. See, for instance, this comment by the narrator: “But with this nameless fascination of the face upon him, during those two days that it had first and fully possessed him for its own, did perplexed Pierre refrain from that apparently most natural of all resources,—boldly seeking out, and returning to the palpable cause, and questioning her, by look or voice, or both together—the mysterious girl herself?” (51; emphasis mine)

12 Examples are numerous in all of Melville’s novels. To give but a few instances: in Omoo, “[Long Ghost and Varvy] made such a fricassee of vowels and consonants, that it was enough to turn one’s brain” (274); in Redburn, “[Carlo’s] broken English […] seemed like mixing the potent wine of Oporto with some delicious syrup” (248); in The Confidence-Man, “To intensify the sense of hearing, he seemed to sink the sense of sight. No complaisance of mere speech could have been so flattering, or expressed such striking politeness as this mute eloquence of thoroughly digesting attention” (143; emphasis mine). The conflation of language and food is also a traditional biblical trope. In Moby-Dick, Ishmael refers to the “meat and wine of the word” right before Father Mapple’s sermon (39). On the Melvillean poetics of words and speech as food, see Marsoin 225-231.

13 On the sublimation of taste in the eighteenth century, see Gigante 3-10. Regarding the epistemological connotation of taste, she quotes Milton’s Samson Agonistes (1671): “The way to know were not to see but taste” (23). On touch in Renaissance England, see Moshenska.

14 Deleuze and Guattari elaborate on the notion of “haptic” in the plateau of A Thousand Plateaus entitled “The Smooth and the Striated” (492-499). On optics and haptics, see also Deleuze’s Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation (1981): “‘Haptic,’ from the Greek verb aptô (to touch), does not designate an extrinsic relation of the eye to the sense of touch, but a ‘possibility of seeing [regard]’ a type of vision distinct from the optical” (189). For a good summary of the distinction between optical art and haptic art for Deleuze, see Buydnes 124-152. This conceptualization of the haptic is also indebted to late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century art historians such as Bernard Berenson and Aloïs Rieg (see Fretwell, 2020 249).

15 For a comprehensive discussion of what a haptics of reading entails, see Constantinesco. On the distinction between concepts, affects and percepts, see Deleuze and Guattari: “Percepts are no longer perceptions; they are independent of a state of those who experience them. Affects are no longer feelings or affections; they go beyond the strength of those who undergo them. Sensations, percepts, and affects are beings whose validity lies in themselves and exceeds any lived” (1994 164).

16 Savarese thus invites neurotypical readers to bring “close reading” closer to “autistic reading,” through careful attention to the sensory implications of words and a full-bodied engagement with them (2018 54).

17 On the multiplicity of nouns ending in –ness in Pierre, see Jaworski 326-327. Regarding nouns in –ness in Pierre, Paul Hurh also notes: “By treating qualities as things, Melville’s pseudo-gothic language reaches for the sound of a world in which qualities do not inhere in substance, but are themselves substances, painted on from the outside” (2011 254). French linguist Julie Neveux has described a similar phenomenon in D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover: for her, the “semantic materiality” of words ending in –ness blurs the distinction between concreteness and abstractness, the sensible and the intelligible (160).

18 In “The Whiteness of the Whale,” this feeling is terror. Hurh has proposed a compelling reading of terror as the “feeling of thinking” in this chapter and argued that terror ultimately “forms that which it perceives” (2015 202). My reading takes a different direction and focuses on recovering some of the elements in Ishmael’s discourse that resist and offset terror, through the potential of the haptic.

19 Philippe Jaworski has noted these various shades of white (362-363). See also, in White-Jacket, the narrator’s description of his jacket as “not a very white jacket, but white enough” (3), which also stresses its permeable and porous texture.

20 Thus can “attend[ing] to the sensory, to the kind of bottom-up processing that disregards categorical distinctions” lead Ahab to resist the racist prejudices of his time, according to Martínez Benedí and Savarese’s reading of the relationship between Ahab and Pip (Martínez Benedí & Savarese 138). The dangers of idealized, optical whiteness, as suggested in “The Whiteness of the Whale,” are part and parcel of what Peter Coviello calls Melville’s “countersupremacist perspective” (113) and the recurrent critique of racist categories in his fiction. Samuel Otter has stressed the importance of touch in the interracial encounter of Ishmael and Queequeg as an anti-racist alternative to sight and color: their “choreographed comedy of racial expectations” eventually “highlights and overturns clichés about the racial significance of the skin and the head” (159). “In the dark,” Otter adds, “Queequeg’s skin is not a symbol, not a sight, but a texture and an aroma” (160). In that respect, Melville recognizes the political and racial valence of hapticalitythis “capacity to feel through others, for others to feel through you, for you to feel them feeling you” (Moten & Harney, 2013 98)—when sight can be racially biased, as evidenced in “Benito Cereno,” which depicts the pitfalls of Amasa Delano’s “optics of paternalistic sentimentality” (Yao 22), the way his “eye” is “informed by the expectations of race science” and the racist, phrenological “seeing mania” (Yao 35-36).

21 At the end of the novel, in the final tableau of the chase, Ishmael refers to “that wild simultaneousness of a thousand concreted perils” (559; emphasis mine) to describe the texture of the chase. The term serves to actualize and materialize the abstract notion of “perils.”

22 This traditional philosophical conundrum regarding the relations of sensations and qualities to substances—which receives in this passage a literary response—was interrogated anew in the postbellum United States by the developing science of psychophysics (which in turn entailed renewed literary responses). See Fretwell, who quotes C. J. Sprague: “the greenness, the sweetness, the fragrance, the music, are not inherent qualities of the objects themselves, but are cerebral sensations” (2020 3).

23 See his Opticks: or, A Treatise of the Reflections, Refractions, Inflections and Colours of Light (1704).

24 Greiman has recently conducted a thorough examination of Melville’s response to Goethe’s theory of colors, especially in Pierre (2023 85-93). While she refers to “The Whiteness of the Whale” only in passing (85), her compelling analysis of Goethe’s polemic with Newton, which aims at “reattaching [color] to the sensations of the body” (87), is entirely in line with the present reading of the materiality of colors and their effects in “The Whiteness of the Whale.”

25 The fact that the main haptic images here are the harlot’s make-up and the butterfly cheeks of young girls is significant: it also suggests the erotic quality of the haptic and dramatizes conflicting archetypal gendered representations of Nature.

26 In Ishmael’s words: “in many natural objects, whiteness refiningly enhances beauty” (188) but in others it also “heighten[s] […] terror” (189). On presence and the haptic, see Deleuze, for whom painting “makes presence immediately visible” (2003 52).

27 This harks back to Mardi’s haptic critique of Berkeley: you cannot necessarily ascertain the identity of a substance but you can feel and know its existence, phenomenologically and haptically.

28 Martínez Benedí and Savarese have put into question Ahab’s abstract idealism, arguing that “for Ahab, knowledge is not only relational, but also fundamentally inseparable from sensation” (136). Ahab’s epistemological posture, as described in the novel, thus contains multitudes, or, in Meredith Farmer’s terms, “leaks” (2). Still, Ahab rejects the capacity to enjoy sensing, contrary to Ishmael.

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Édouard Marsoin, « “Squeezing Case(s)” with Melville: A Haptic Reading of “The Whiteness of the Whale” »Transatlantica [En ligne], 2 | 2023, mis en ligne le 01 novembre 2023, consulté le 22 février 2024. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/transatlantica/22074 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/transatlantica.22074

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Édouard Marsoin

Université Paris Cité

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