Category Archives: Melville, Herman

“A Mighty Theme”: Moby-Dick Is About Whales

Such, and so magnifying, is the virtue of a large and liberal theme! To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be who have tried it. We all probably know the Woody Allen joke about speed-reading War and […]

Book Club Update: Moby-Dick Contains Multitudes

My book club met last night for the first of two sessions on Moby-Dick. For this one we read only about half way through, so a lot of our discussion either began or ended with some variation on “I wonder where this goes.” Does the novel as a whole uphold Ishmael’s endearing open-mindedness – or, for that […]

“Boldly Launched” — On My First Reading of Moby-Dick

Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harborless immensities. When I wrote about Madame Bovary here a couple of years ago, I commented that reading a very famous novel for the first time is like meeting a celebrity in person (or so I imagine). It is intensely […]

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