“Novel governmentality” refers to the role that novels play in shaping and altering what Michel Foucault has called the “conduct of conduct.” To restrict novels to a domain of signifying practices is to pay insufficient attention to the ways in which this cultural technology constitutes, legitimates, and sometimes alters the institutional conditions that regulated disparate aspects of the social order. Because of their capacity to take hold of the processes of behaving, thinking, and feeling immanent to their readers' conduct and to create affective protocols that introduce and secure new forms of life, novels implement heterogeneous governmentalities. This essay examines Ishmael's testimony to the relationship between Pip and Captain Ahab to elucidate the contesting governmentalities at work in Melville's Moby-Dick.

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