On "Moby Dick" Or, The Whale


I’ve been re-reading (again, again) “Moby Dick” and looking back through my notes. It occurs to me that Melville‘s novel is so entirely apropos to the political age.

Is chasing the whale blasphemy? Like “chasing” God, searching for a full knowledge of God/the Divine and/or seeking to conquer God. To conquer the what is to be God, to take God’s place.

Contemporary American Culture: whaling–oil–God, Middle East conflict (oil, God, religious land), Starbucks, Pequod, Nantucket.

The lesson of monomania, the danger of extremism–Ahab is prepared to die for the mission, but doesn’t really think he will (like Osama bin Laden).

See: Bloomsburg’s “shipwreck book” (?)*

There is the tacit CONTRACT between reader & author:
– obviousness (allegorically)
– use of different forms
– how Ishmael can narrate Ahab’s thoughts

Ishmael gives a more “scientific” account of the omen/symbol to @ present the flip-side for us (the reader) to be able to buy into it and yet Ishmael’s “sloppy” mix of fact & fiction as Melville’s first book (thinking of James Frey). How people start off as readers & then become writers, as in one must become a writer of their own “reality” of the novel. Ironic that we say “my reading is..”

The sublime does not exist in the object but in the mind (self) & its inability to fully realize the object.

*If anyone knows of this book, write me. I will send you a present.

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