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Cook pens “Inscrutable Malice” on Melville’s Moby Dick

Scholars, students, and enthusiasts of Melville's iconic whaling novel, "Moby Dick," will be able to purchase on Dec.. 15 Jonathan A. Cook's newest book, "Inscrutable Malice."

In this long-anticipated and carefully researched study, Cook, who has a Ph.D. from Columbia University and is chair of the English Department at Middleburg Academy, expertly illuminates Melville's abiding preoccupation with the problem of evil and the dominant role of the Bible in shaping his best-known work.

Published by Northern Illinois University Press, the book is being internationally marketed to colleges and universities by the University of Chicago Press. It is also available to the general public through Amazon.

Steven Olsen-Smith, general editor of Melville's Marginalia Online, writes,"Cook's analysis of scripturally influenced subject matter in Melville's narrative is unprecedented in scope and detail."

Drawing on recent research in the fields of biblical studies, the history of religion, and comparative mythology, Cook's interpretation of "Moby Dick" places Melville's creative adaptation of the Bible at the center of the novel.

He identifies, in a style that is recognized as both accessible and erudite, two ongoing concerns in the narrative in relation to their key biblical sources: the attempt to reconcile the goodness of God with the existence of evil and the discourse of the Christian end-times involving the final destruction of evil.

Cook spent more than a decade researching and writing the 384-page book.

Cook is a nationally recognized scholar of the writings of Melville, Hawthorne, and Poe, with many publications on these and other authors. He has served on a number of panels at literary conferences and as a consultant for various publications.

Previously, he authored "Satirical Apocalypse: An Anatomy of Melville's The Confidence Man."

Middleburg Academy, where Cook has taught for the past 12 years, prizes the strength of its teaching staff.

A 77 percent of its faculty hold advanced degrees, including masters and doctorates from such highly regarded institutions as Harvard University, MIT, the University of Virginia, George Mason University, The George Washington University, Virginia Tech, and Morehouse College, as well as Columbia.

Approximately 60 percent, including Dr. Cook, are certified to teach college-level courses on the high school campus, either as Advanced Placement (AP) course instructors or as teachers of dual-enrollment courses through the Virginia College and University System.

In addition to being highly credentialed, Dr. Jonathan Cook is known by his students to be an exceptional instructor of English literature and writing who is relentless about vocabulary acquisition, grammatical correctness, and expressive concision.

When asked which subject she felt most prepared to tackle in college, 2011 graduate Carol Yacoub, now a sophomore at UVA, said, "Amazing senior year English!"

"If you've had Dr. Cook you can handle anything," Yacoub said. "He's incredible . . . and has taught me so much about writing."

For more information about Jonathan Cook, Ph.D., or Middleburg Academy, visit www.middleburgacademy.org.
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