I Do Not Baptize Thee in Name

  • Brian R. Pellar
Part of the American Literature Readings in the 21st Century book series (ALTC)


In this chapter, Pellar discusses how the oft-neglected preliminary chapters of Moby-Dick (“Etymology” & “Extracts”) form the very core of Melville’s overall philosophy. Melville’s revelation to Nathaniel Hawthorne regarding the book’s secret motto “ – Ego non baptiso te in nomine [I do not baptize thee in name]” is explored in detail, as well as the Ship of State as Hobbes’ Leviathan. Pellar also explores the Indian idea of “tat tvam asi” that pervades Moby-Dick, as well as Melville’s displeasure at the hypocrisy of the Founding Father’s words of “all men are created equal.” The empty materialization of their promise is seen in slavery, genocide, economic servitude, and the suffering of women and the poor.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian R. Pellar
    • 1
  1. 1.BostonUSA

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