Chapter 58: Brit

Enough ruminations about various depictions of whales! Let’s just all agree that true life experiences are very difficult to convey and that the skill of it belongs only to the great masters of craft among us.

brit1

Today, we’re talking about a much smaller subject: brit, that food that whales crave. Not the whales that Ahab and co. are actually hunting, but the right whale and some other kinds of whale that do not produce enough or the right kind of oil to be noticed. Continue reading “Chapter 58: Brit”

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.

ofwhales2

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 56: Of the Less Erroneous Pictures of Whales, and the True Pictures of Whaling Scenes

So, now that we’ve heard all about (and seen, thanks to the magic of the internet) some truly awful pictures of whales, it’s time for the good ones!

error1
Beale

Or, barring that, at least the ones that are acceptable, at a base level. Even the finest artists do not quite live up to the reality of the sperm whale, if Ishmael is to be believed. Continue reading “Chapter 56: Of the Less Erroneous Pictures of Whales, and the True Pictures of Whaling Scenes”

Chapter 55: Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales

And now, for something completely different.

monster3
A Richard III Whale

After that incredibly long and detailed short story, that microcosm for the book as a whole encapsulated in a single chapter, it’s time for a good ol’ fashioned non-narrative chapter where Ishmael yells at clouds. Or, rather, yells at artists for not knowing what whales look like. Continue reading “Chapter 55: Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales”

Chapter 32: Cetology

Oh boy, this chapter.

ceto7

This is a real monster. It’s very long, a bit dry, and mostly just… confusing, as to why it is even here. It is, oddly, one of the more famous ones, I feel. People love to talk about how every fact about whales in Moby Dick is wrong or how it goes wildly off topic and starts talking about pseudoscience. But I think that’s really not giving it enough credit. Continue reading “Chapter 32: Cetology”

Chapter 14: Nantucket

Ah! That new blog smell, never does get old, does it. Yesterday, I spent my afternoon moving everything over here from tumblr, at least those things that were worth moving. The thousands upon thousands of reblogs will have to stay put upon that sinking ship of a website.

nantucket2

So, let us get right back to it, with a very fun non-narrative chapter of Moby-Dick; or, the Whale!

Continue reading “Chapter 14: Nantucket”

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.

(King1893NYC)_pg113_JANETTEE_PARK,_COENTIES_SLIP,_EAST_RIVER,_LOOKING_TOWARD_BROOKLYN

Continue reading “Chapter 1: Loomings”

Etymology & Extracts: Lord Help Me, I’m Back on My Bullshit Again

The book Moby Dick, or to give it’s proper, full title, Moby-Dick; or, the Whale, is my favorite piece of writing that exists. I think that if you give it a chance, you’ll find that it is not the chore that it initially appears. Indeed, from the very beginning, it’s positively brimming with character, crackling with folksy energies.

M35763-7 002

Continue reading “Etymology & Extracts: Lord Help Me, I’m Back on My Bullshit Again”