Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Notes on the text for the month

First of all, does everyone have a copy? I think so, if you count the abridged children's version. For those who don't, I think I will just include some excerpts, borrowed from the Melville web site. We begin, of course, at the beginning:

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago -- never mind how long precisely -- having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off -- then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me. --opening paragraph

Also, there is a movie of Moby Dick starring Gregory Peck. Netflix subscribers, have at it.

Lastly, if you've read that far, Moby Dick has a nifty description of the whalers chapel in New Bedford. I've been there before, and in fact, thinking of the New England scenes the book contained was one reason I chose it. It's interesting to read that the pulpit was actually rebuilt in 1961, to make it more like the imaginary one described in the novel, and depicted in the movie. When I went, apparently that alteration had already been made, because I remember having the pulpit pointed out to me as strikingly interesting. What is interesting to me now is the fact that at the time, I had no feelings one way or the other about this, and would have said it made no impression on me, but when I read the scene in the book, I thought "Wow! I saw that! I remember people telling me about that!" So obviously even though I myself didn't even think I was paying attention, somehow the information permeated my consciousness. Odd.


Blogger Zelda said...

Thank you for this picture! The description of the chapel was great but I wasn't sure I had the right idea. I'm also in love with this chance to return, in a way, to the quiet towns of the Northeast. As happy as I was to leave Vermont I really did enjoy my time there. Especially my visits to Massachusetts and New Hampshire and Maine. I love this book.

12:31 PM  

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