The Cohen Prize committee of The Melville Society has named Dominic Mastrianni (PhD ’08) the winner of the 2012 Hennig Cohen Prize for his article, “Revolutionary Time and the Future of Democracy in Melville’s Pierre,” ESQ 56.4 (2011): 391-423.
In announcing the award, the committee wrote:
The Melville Society¹s Cohen Prize committee is pleased to announce the winner of the Hennig Cohen Prize for 2011 is Dominic Mastroianni for his article, “Revolutionary Time and the Future of Democracy in Melville’s Pierre,” published in ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance. Mastroianni’s essay is a provocative, brilliantly managed reading of Melville’s novel as a political allegory concerned with the nature of revolution and the question of “whether a permanent democracy can result from revolution.” In this extraordinarily original, illuminating essay, Mastroianni reveals Melville to be engaged in a heady and sophisticated exploration of “the time of revolutionary foundation,” one where democracy is shown to require “a structural impermanence driven by a call for social and economic equality” that goes beyond the calls for fraternity in the French Revolution of 1848 to include a call for sisterhood and equality for women. The members of the Cohen Prize committee believe this is an essay that will challenge readers not only to rethink the political dimensions of Melville’s novel but to move politics to the center of the author’s concerns in this narrative.
The English Department congratulates Dominic on this achievement.