This is one of the chapters that really inspired me to do this blog.
The casual reader of Moby Dick, which I must assume exists because I was one, would come across this and be utterly confused. What the heck is a Heidelburgh Tun, and why is it being talked about like it’s some sort of famous reference that everyone knows? It’s a question that cries out for answering. This is the one that really got me started in on researching all these obscure 19th century references. Continue reading “Chapter 77: The Great Heidelburgh Tun”
See? I said I would start posting more regularly, and here I am at it again, less than a week later.
This chapter is a fun one, kind of a bridge between narrative and non-narrative. You get a bit of everything, including a return to Ahab being extremely portentous all the time. Let’s get into it! Continue reading “Chapter 70: The Sphynx”
What do you even do with a whale, once you’ve killed it?
Much has been said about what a monumental foe the sperm whale is, in this book thus far. So vast and terrible in its strength, such a rare thing to even see one, much less successfully kill it. After all that is accomplished, what do you do? How on earth does an old timey sailing ship accommodate such a massive carcasse? Well, that’s what today’s chapter, and the several following chapters, are about, so settle in! It’s gonna get gross. Continue reading “Chapter 67: Cutting In”
You thought chapter titles couldn’t get any longer? You fool. You absolute buffoon. Melville has no sympathy, and is following no rulebook.
This chapter is kind of a transition into a different mood from the previous two. Instead of a critical survey of art from the learned eye of an expert, it’s of Ishmael as a man reflecting on the nature of art and the world it inhabits. So yeah, I think I can find something to talk about here. Continue reading “Chapter 57: Of Whales in Paint; in Teeth; in Wood; in Sheet-Iron; in Stone; in Mountains; in the Stars”
Okay, let’s get back into it with a nice, meaty chapter. We’re getting into some interesting metatexutal territory here, blurring the line between Melville and Ishmael.
Technically, I think this whole thing is just more of Old Ishmael, based on the general tone and tendency towards exhortation and exclamation. But it’s also very much a bibliography slipped into the text itself, and I must say it’s more pleasant to read than the ones you usually see!
Continue reading “Chapter 45: The Affidavit”
So, now we’re past the big fiery chapter, and will linger a while in the afterglow. Ahab revealed his true intentions, and the world didn’t end. He has set a flame in the hearts of his men, kindled from his own, and now everyone has to deal with the fallout.
The next few chapters are pretty short, but that gives me a good opportunity to dig into some themes. That last chapter was so dense and important, there’s a lot of stuff that necessarily fell by the wayside. You could probably write entire books untangling all the various strands of meaning in that pasteboard masks speech. Continue reading “Chapter 37: Sunset”
Now that we’ve got church out of the way, it’s time to get real chummy with some dudes just bein’ bros. Just a real couple o’ old pals, pallin’ around! That’s it and that’s all, certainly no subtext here, no sirree.
These next few chapters make an interesting counterpoint to the harsh, literally sermonizing tone of the last little run. It’s a nice change of pace. Continue reading “Chapter 10: A Bosom Friend”
What’s this? Two in one day? Sure, why not. Let’s knock another one down!
This chapter is another short one, I actually fit the notes for it and the last one on the same page. It does have a bit more meat for us to chew on, though, in terms of blog writing. I probably won’t have to go off on a Melville-esque digression of my own to get to a decent length this time. Continue reading “Chapter 6: The Street”
Well, I had a little break over the holiday season, did a little dog-sitting, but now it is time to get back to it!
The next couple chapters are pretty short, only a scant few pages of material. But that’s good, as it allows me to prepare myself for the following chapters, where we’ll have to really delve deep into capital-t Theology in the Chapel and the Sermon. But for now, light situational comedy with Ishmael and co. Continue reading “Chapter 5: Breakfast”
Here we go, this is the chapter where the book really kicks into gear. There’s a lot that happens, but one particular section is very intriguing to me. It connects deeply to my whole thesis for interpreting and understanding the book, as a fictional artifact and a work of literature.
Continue reading “Chapter 3: The Spouter-Inn”