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originally posted by: zosimov
To all bibliophiles and lovers of knowledge out there, I propose an in-depth study of the American masterpiece Moby Dick.
Please join me! I hope to read, discuss and analyze the text, in addition to sharing with you some of the things I have learned about the novel, author and subject matter. I welcome anything you have to offer as well.
Upon reading Moby Dick last year, I was astounded by the prose, scope, depth and tone. I had to find out more about the author and the subject matter. Thus began a scholarly pursuit of all things whale and Melville. My reading included "Herman Melville Vol 1", by Hershel Parker, "Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex", by Owen Chase, “Mocha Dick: Or the White Whale of the Pacific: A Leaf from a Manuscript Journal, from the Pacific”, by Jeremiah N. Reynold, and "Melville’s Quarrel With God", by Lawrance Thompson. I hope to share most of what I have learned in an upcoming series, and dive deep into the influences and concepts of America’s greatest literary achievement.
What I discovered was fascinating. First off, Melville’s biography is full of adventure, coincidence, tragedy and peril. Secondly, Melville’s experience, family history, and literary contributions are closely connected to America’s emerging cultural, literary, political, and social identity. As Melville’s biographer mentioned, he and his family had an uncanny record of being present at crucial moments in American history, and witnessed (and participated in!) many events that forged the path of the early years of the United States of America. And, finally, while the novel Moby Dick could be read as an epic tale of revenge and obsession, underneath the story lies something much darker, a hidden purpose perhaps. One can indeed read the text as Melville's indictment against God. I plan to explore that aspect of the text with you as well.
This thread will serve as a survey of sorts to gauge how many of you (if any!) are interested in joining me in a Moby Dick book club/discussion, and to give you the opportunity to start reading now Please respond if you’re interested!
My next installation will cover a biography of Melville and his family, followed by a thread about the real Moby Dick (an albino whale that earned infamy among whalemen in the Pacific by the name of Mocha Dick) and the tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. Once we have established a bit of background, we can get to the book itself. It’s intriguing and engaging material, I promise!
I really hope to hear from some of you! Have a great night, friends.