Chapter 57: Of Whales in Paint; in Teeth; in Wood; in Sheet-Iron; in Stone; in Mountains; in the Stars

You thought chapter titles couldn’t get any longer? You fool. You absolute buffoon. Melville has no sympathy, and is following no rulebook.

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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”

Chapter 13: Wheelbarrow

Today we’ve got another nice little chunk of narrative, after those low-key backstory and religious chapters. But, it also finds plenty of time for fun little asides and bits of philosophy here and there, so it ends up being quite long.

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I’m trying to get out of the mode of going through the whole chapter point by point. There’s just too much in this book, and its very existence warns against that kind of close analysis as a sisyphean task. So, I will try to restrict myself to the points and observations I find most interesting. Continue reading “Chapter 13: Wheelbarrow”

Chapter 7: The Chapel

Let’s move on to some capital-T Theology in this next run of chapters in Moby-Dick; or, the Whale! I’ll say ahead of time that I am, at best, an amateur theologian, having taken only a few classes on the subject in college, and none of them even remotely relating to 19th century Christianity.

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But, having been raised in a denomination that encourages scholarship of the Bible, following @benito-cereno for many years on this site, and listening to his wonderful podcast @apocrypals, I know a thing or three about the following of ol’ Oily Josh.

Continue reading “Chapter 7: The Chapel”

Chapter 6: The Street

What’s this? Two in one day? Sure, why not. Let’s knock another one down!

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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”

Chapter 2: The Carpet-Bag

Here we find the start of the proper narrative, though that doesn’t mean we’re going to leave aside the asides and classical allusions. This is still definitely being narrated by an older Ishmael, and he lets you know it on a constant basis.

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Continue reading “Chapter 2: The Carpet-Bag”

Chapter 1: Loomings

Well, there it is, the most famous opening line in all of lit’rature. Personally, I never found it all that impressive. It’s been quite over-exposed, removed of all context. Whatever power it once had has been dispersed throughout our general culture. It’s more of a Thing that you’re supposed to Respect, rather than an organic piece of writing, anymore.

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Continue reading “Chapter 1: Loomings”