My contributions to scholarship include new archival discoveries as well as close analysis of literary evidence informed by biographical, documentary, and bibliographic investigation. Combining traditional methods with computer-assisted forms of analysis, my research exposes depths and facets of evidence unknown to scholars of previous generations. I discuss digital discovery and analysis of Melville’s marginalia with Brian Shea of the Johns Hopkins University Press in a podcast interview linked here. For video of a lecture and presentation I delivered in March 2019 on the composition and source-origins of Melville’s masterwork Moby-Dick, in observance of the bicentennial of Melville’s birth, visit Melville@200 at Melville’s Marginalia Online.
The articles and notes listed below are available through most academic databases and elsewhere on the web. Several of these reflect the collaboration I’ve coordinated among scholars in different disciplines (literary studies, library science, electrical and computer engineering) at multiple institutions of higher learning, and among student contributors to Melville’s Marginalia Online. The graph at right displays correlations between lexical uniqueness values (hapax legomenon) and total word quantities in passages marked by Melville in his set of Shakespeare’s plays.
“Books and Marginalia,” in A Companion to Melville Studies, eds. Wyn Kelly and Christopher Ohge (New York: Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming).
“Computation and Digital Text Analysis at Melville’s Marginalia Online” in Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies 20.2 (June 2018), including an introduction written with Christopher Ohge and the following co-authored and co-edited content:
Christopher Ohge, Steven Olsen-Smith, and Elisa Barney Smith with Adam Brimhall, Bridget Howley, Lisa Shanks, and Lexy Smith, “At the Axis of Reality: Melville’s Marginalia in The Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare,” 37-67.
Peter Norberg with Anna Lendacky, “If not Equal all, Yet free: Political Freedom and Theological Doubt in Melville’s reading of Milton,” 68-89.
Tony McGowan with Marcus Blandford, Cyrus Garner, and Kenzington Price, “Melville’s Hand in Chapman’s Homer: A Poet’s Pagan Education,” 17-36.
“Update on Books Owned and Borrowed by Melville” in Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies 18.2 (June 2016), 90-101.
“Stephen Crane” in Novelists on the American Civil War, Vol. 378 of the Dictionary of Literary Biography, ed. George Parker Anderson (Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, Cengage Learning, 2016), 103-112.
“Recovering Melville’s Hand” in Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies 17.2 (June 2015), including a prose introduction and the following co-authored content:
Steven Olsen-Smith and Joshua Preminger, “Newly Deciphered Erased and Faded Inscriptions in Melville’s Copy of the Commedia,” 41-58.
Peter Norberg, Steven Olsen-Smith, and Dennis C. Marnon, “Newly Recovered Erased Annotations in Melville’s Marginalia to Milton’s Poetical Works,” 59-73.
“Herman Melville and the New York Society Library,” Books & People: the Newsletter of the New York Society Library 19.3 (Fall 2012), 5-6.
“Herman Melville’s Copy of Thomas Beale’s The Natural History of the Sperm Whale and the Composition of Moby-Dick,” Harvard Library Bulletin 21.3 (Fall 2010), 1-77.
“Captain John Smith” in The Oxford Handbook of Early American Literature, ed. Kevin J. Hayes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 47-67.
“‘Live Oak, with Moss,’ ‘Calamus,’ and ‘Children of Adam’” in A Companion to Walt Whitman, ed. Donald D. Kummings (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2006), 508-21.
“A Cumulative Supplement to Melville’s Reading” (with Merton M. Sealts, Jr.), Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies 6.1 (March 2004), 55-82.
“The Hymn in Moby-Dick: Melville’s Adaptation of ‘Psalm 18,’” Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies 5.1, Special Issue: Moby-Dick (March 2003), 29-47.
“Herman Melville (1819-1891)” in Writers of the American Renaissance: An A-Z Guide, ed. Denise D. Knight (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003), 267-76.
“Walt Whitman (1819-1892)” in Writers of the American Renaissance: An A-Z Guide, ed. Denise D. Knight (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003), 404-14.
“Melville’s Poetic Use of Thomas Beale’s Natural History of the Sperm Whale,” in the Norton Critical Edition of Moby-Dick, 2nd Ed., eds. Hershel Parker and Harrison Hayford (New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 2001), 585-91.
“‘Travel’: New Evidence on Melville’s Third Lecture,” Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies 1.1 (March 1999), 45-56.
“‘Live Oak, with Moss’ and ‘Calamus’: Textual Inhibitions in Whitman Criticism” (with Hershel Parker), Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 14 (1997), 153-65.
“The Pattern of the Impulsive Act in Melville’s Fiction,” ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 42 (1996), 195-214.
“An Orthodox Poet and a Liberal Publisher: Henry Francis Lyte to Charles Ollier, 23 June 1821,” Collections 9 (1996), 15-30.
“Herman Melville’s Planned Work on Remorse,” Nineteenth-Century Literature 50 (1996), 489-500.
“Two Views of Whitman in 1856: Uncollected Reviews of Leaves of Grass from the New York Daily News and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper,” Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 13 (1996), 209-214.
“Three New Melville Letters: Procrastination and Passports” (with Hershel Parker), Melville Society Extracts 102 (1995), 8-12.