“…however baby man may brag of his science and skill…” (Moby-Dick)

But though, to landsmen in general, the native inhabitants of the seas have ever been regarded with emotions unspeakably unsocial and repelling; though we know the sea to be an everlasting terra incognita, so that Columbus sailed over numberless unknown worlds to discover his one superficial western one; though, by vast odds, the most terrific… Continue reading “…however baby man may brag of his science and skill…” (Moby-Dick)

“…all the waves rolled by like scrolls of silver; and, by their soft, suffusing seethings, made what seemed a silvery silence, not a solitude…” (Moby-Dick)

It was while gliding through these latter waters that one serene and moonlight night, when all the waves rolled by like scrolls of silver; and, by their soft, suffusing seethings, made what seemed a silvery silence, not a solitude; on such a silent night a silvery jet was seen far in advance of the white… Continue reading “…all the waves rolled by like scrolls of silver; and, by their soft, suffusing seethings, made what seemed a silvery silence, not a solitude…” (Moby-Dick)

“… this easy, indifferent sword must be chance…” (Moby-Dick)

I was the attendant or page of Queequeg, while busy at the mat. As I kept passing and repassing the filling or woof of marline between the long yarns of the warp, using my own hand for the shuttle, and as Queequeg, standing sideways, ever and anon slid his heavy oaken sword between the threads,… Continue reading “… this easy, indifferent sword must be chance…” (Moby-Dick)

“…by its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe…” (Moby-Dick)

But not yet have we solved the incantation of this whiteness, and learned why it appeals with such power to the soul; and more strange and far more portentous—why, as we have seen, it is at once the most meaning symbol of spiritual things, nay, the very veil of the Christian’s Deity; and yet should… Continue reading “…by its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe…” (Moby-Dick)

“All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks” (Moby-Dick)

Hark ye yet again—the little lower layer. All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event—in the living act, the undoubted deed—there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the… Continue reading “All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks” (Moby-Dick)

“Moby Dick ye have seen—Moby Dick—Moby Dick!” (Moby-Dick)

“It’s a white whale, I say,” resumed Ahab, as he threw down the topmaul: “a white whale. Skin your eyes for him, men; look sharp for white water; if ye see but a bubble, sing out.” All this while Tashtego, Daggoo, and Queequeg had looked on with even more intense interest and surprise than the… Continue reading “Moby Dick ye have seen—Moby Dick—Moby Dick!” (Moby-Dick)

“…over any ignominious blemish in him all his fellows should run to throw their costliest robes” (Moby-Dick)

Men may seem detestable as joint stock-companies and nations; knaves, fools, and murderers there may be; men may have mean and meagre faces; but man, in the ideal, is so noble and so sparkling, such a grand and glowing creature, that over any ignominious blemish in him all his fellows should run to throw their… Continue reading “…over any ignominious blemish in him all his fellows should run to throw their costliest robes” (Moby-Dick)

“No more my splintered heart and maddened hand were turned against the wolfish world” (Moby-Dick)

As I sat there in that now lonely room; the fire burning low, in that mild stage when, after its first intensity has warmed the air, it then only glows to be looked at; the evening shades and phantoms gathering round the casements, and peering in upon us silent, solitary twain; the storm booming without… Continue reading “No more my splintered heart and maddened hand were turned against the wolfish world” (Moby-Dick)

Moby-Dick | A short riff on a long book

Prompted by Call Me Ishmael, Charles Olson’s marvelous study of Moby-Dick, I took a fifth trip through Melville’s massive opus this past month. Every time I read Moby-Dick it seems funnier and sadder. Richer. Thicker. I cobbled together my reading over different media and spaces: I listened to William Hootkins‘ outstanding unabridged audiobook version, and then reread on my Kindle key… Continue reading Moby-Dick | A short riff on a long book

Moby-Dick: A Short Riff on a Long Book

1. Prompted by Call Me Ishmael, Charles Olson’s marvelous study of Moby-Dick, I took a fifth trip through Melville’s massive opus this past month. 2. Every time I read Moby-Dick it seems funnier and sadder. Richer. Thicker. 3. I cobbled together my reading over different media and spaces: I listened to William Hootkins‘ outstanding unabridged audiobook version, and then reread on… Continue reading Moby-Dick: A Short Riff on a Long Book