Thursday, July 7, 2011

Abandon Ship!

After years of superficially reading Moby Dick, floating on Melville's genius use of language, following characters without ever caring about the genesis of their names, skimming over the informational chapters, I decided to reread one of my favorite novels in depth by carefully reading every line and checking all unknown biblical and literary references. And I hate it. Big Hate!
Who was this guy? Melville has experienced and researched every aspect of whaling, whalers, whale anatomy, whale habitat, whale diet, songs about whales, whales in art history, biblical whales, fish that were once mistaken for whales, names for whales, names for whales that are no longer used, uses for whale blubber, whale oil, and all of the tools and clothing a whaler could possibly ever need! His biblical references are epic, and since I am not a religious person or particularly versed in the Bible, I've had to look up almost every damned one.
This particular read almost has me licked, I won't admit defeat.  I’ll keep going even though I run the risk of being completely annihilated, like Ahab, by this leviathan.


  1. Good luck with that. You sound like me when I fought my way through Light in August. Having finished it, I stood up in the field where I'd been grubbing for root vegetables, shook my fist at the sky and vowed, "With God as my witness, I'll never read Faulkner again!"

    And I haven't.

  2. "If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill, as God is my witness, I will never read Moby again!" This is my last time. Saying this, I feel like I just broke up with a bad boyfriend that I'm not completely over. In a few years time, I'll forget all of the hard times Herman and I have shared and, only remembering the best of him, I'll take him back. This usually happens in Novemeber when I've had enough of the great outdoors.
    On a lighter note, I'm reading the book you recommended, ...Sin (can't remember the title). It is hilarious! I wish I had a stash of mean-spirited fortune cookies to slip to some of my coworkers.