Skip to comments.Liza Klaussmann: 'I Reread Moby-Dick and Thought: Where Was Your Editor?'
Posted on 08/11/2012 7:31:33 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Liza Klaussmann: 'I Reread Moby-Dick and Thought: Where Was Your Editor?'
Feh. It sprawls from Nantucket all the way out to the Pacific on a whaling ship, where it meets the white whale. OK, sure there's some scenery along the way, but this is not a "sprawling novel". Good grief.
And "touches of genius" is way off, too. Its genius is the unity and focus of its conception. BTW, I "reread" it at the beach in my 40's. My constant thought was, "How can they expect high school kids to read this stuff?"
2 words: Newspaper Serial. Back in the day, the main way for people to read well-known books was through newspapers serials. Most of Dickens’ books were read this way as was Moby Dick. And to sell more newspapers, Melville padded the novel to include all kinds of things that normally would have been left out of an unserialized book - for example the step-by-step instructions on how to cut up a whale.
Exactly. Channels of distribution matter for what is a consumer product.
And not just life at sea, a hotel putting strangers in the same bed? Oh my...
To the last I grapple with thee. From hell's heart I stab at thee. For hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee.
Moby Dick was an OK short story hidden in a rotten book.
Now that right there is good writin'
Khans Last Breath...Youtube
The hollow sound of a book hitting a head isn’t always the book.
My constant thought was, “How can they expect high school kids to read this stuff?”
I’ve read it twice, planning on a third. Believe it or not it is an easy read, not a lot of “high dollar” words.
I would rather read MOBY DICK several times than that awful SILAS MARNER once.
What's the opposite of a plankton? Ans: a nekton . A whale is a nekton, that is a free swimmer, and in this sense it is a fish. It's just a matter of usage. Just a word. Similarly, among the plankton, which by definition are drifters, one finds many classes of organisms, including crustacean larvae.
***a hotel putting strangers in the same bed? Oh my...***
Especially a tatoo’d man who is trying to sell a head.
Well, the bench was real hard to sleep on!
Question: When AHAB was killed what was his artificial leg made of?
Moby Dick can be ponderous, but is still a masterpiece of the American novel. Other great works of literature can be similarly ponderous...Le Rouge et le Noir (the Red and the Black) by Stendhal, Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables and any thing by Tolstoy for example. However, nothing IMHO is more ponderous than the novels of George Elliot. I could hardly get through reading Silas Marner.
The next Star Trek is apparently going to have Ahab, I mean Khan, facing off against Kirk again - with Benedict Cumberbatch (of Sherlock fame) playing Khan.
I never made that connection before! WOK was just on the other night. Certainly was Ricardo M’s defining role, more so than Fantasy Island, IMO.
Where do you get this? I never heard of it, and I don't see it on a quick check, which indicates it was introduced as a completed book.
I’ve always been amused at the way people who grew up attending modernist schools think historical people are “wrong” for calling a whale a fish. Whales are not Pisces, but “fish” was a term used for any sea creatures, historically.
The ancients and less-ancients were quite well aware that there were major biological differences between whales and Pisces; the name “dolphin” means “womb,” in Greek, for what the Greeks called them, translated into English, was “womb-fishes.” Also not Pisces are shellfish, crayfish, starfish, jellyfish, etc. Some eels are Pisces, some are not. And “Pisces,” as a phylogenic class has been discarded, anyway.
If sometime around the 1950s, elementary school teachers decided that they would only use “fish” to describe Pisces, that’s fine. But throughout the whole of English history up until that time, “fish” meant a category of creatures which included whales, polyphylitic as it was.
Will they someday call us wrong for calling both earthworms and pinworms “worms” even though they are not related?
I got a chuckle when Starbuck seved coffee to the captains.
Whale bone, but I confess looking it up to be sure.
Maybe not so many $10 words, but plenty of $100 paragraphs:
Though in many natural objects, whiteness refiningly enhances beauty, as if imparting some special virtue of its own, as in marbles, japonicas, and pearls; and though various nations have in some way recognised a certain royal preeminence in this hue; even the barbaric, grand old kings of Pegu placing the title “Lord of the White Elephants” above all their other magniloquent ascriptions of dominion; and the modern kings of Siam unfurling the same snow-white quadruped in the royal standard; and the Hanoverian flag bearing the one figure of a snow-white charger; and the great Austrian Empire, Caesarian, heir to overlording Rome, having for the imperial colour the same imperial hue; and though this pre-eminence in it applies to the human race itself, giving the white man ideal mastership over every dusky tribe; and though, besides, all this, whiteness has been even made significant of gladness, for among the Romans a white stone marked a joyful day; and though in other mortal sympathies and symbolizings, this same hue is made the emblem of many touching, noble thingsthe innocence of brides, the benignity of age; though among the Red Men of America the giving of the white belt of wampum was the deepest pledge of honour; though in many climes, whiteness typifies the majesty of Justice in the ermine of the Judge, and contributes to the daily state of kings and queens drawn by milk-white steeds; though even in the higher mysteries of the most august religions it has been made the symbol of the divine spotlessness and power; by the Persian fire worshippers, the white forked flame being held the holiest on the altar; and in the Greek mythologies, Great Jove himself being made incarnate in a snow-white bull; and though to the noble Iroquois, the midwinter sacrifice of the sacred White Dog was by far the holiest festival of their theology, that spotless, faithful creature being held the purest envoy they could send to the Great Spirit with the annual tidings of their own fidelity; and though directly from the Latin word for white, all Christian priests derive the name of one part of their sacred vesture, the alb or tunic, worn beneath the cassock; and though among the holy pomps of the Romish faith, white is specially employed in the celebration of the Passion of our Lord; though in the Vision of St. John, white robes are given to the redeemed, and the four-and-twenty elders stand clothed in white before the great-white throne, and the Holy One that sitteth there white like wool; yet for all these accumulated associations, with whatever is sweet, and honourable, and sublime, there yet lurks an elusive something in the innermost idea of this hue, which strikes more of panic to the soul than that redness which affrights in blood.
That’s what I think when I read Ayn Rand.
***Whale bone, but I confess looking it up to be sure.***
What? Even I never forgot that!
The first was whale ivory. Shattered.
The second Whale bone. Shattered.
The third was PINE.
I haven't read the book, but found the paragraph fun to read. The last statement bears thought, and interestingly rings true. Looks like I have missed out, and may yet read the book.
They were too busy also ignoring Walt Whitman...
It’s a free kindle download. I’m 3/4 through it.
Well, that’s a source, but hardly authoritative, and in fact rather oblique. A search on [ Moby Dick publication ] finds a number of sources with statements to this effect: “The first publication of Moby Dick was in London in October of 1851.” Wikipedia gives a publication history, beginning with same, and with no mention of an initial serialized appearance. So, at the least, I have to reserve judgement, but in my own mind I would be amazed if such a thing were true.
Heh...I always thought that line was Milton...but you are right...it’s from Moby Dick...
“Heh...I always thought that line was Milton...but you are right...its from Moby Dick...”
The Khan character quoted Milton in his first appearance on TOS episode “Space Seed” where he said (quoting Satan), “It is better to rule in hell, than to serve in heaven.”
One chapter that lingered with me is Chapter 58 Brit. It’s short as many of the chapters are, and muses on the analogy of land and sea, with the conclusion:
Consider all this; and then turn to this green, gentle, and most docile earth; consider them both, the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself? For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half known life. God keep thee! Push not off from that isle, thou canst never return!
I agree. The second time I read it was the most painful. Great and very amusing passages exist in the novel, and the theme and grace of the writing is wonderful. But the book is at least a hundred pages too long. By the way, all of Norman Mailer’s books needed to be chopped in half. I offer a three word tip to the deceased Mailer: try active verbs. (Duh!)
I agree about Ayn Rand; she relentlessly pounds the same points over and over again. The dialogue is just horribly repetitive in places. If a novelist believes it’s necessary to be so monotonous and direct, then the novel as an art form may be inherently unsuited to the purpose she intended. Novels should be subtle and not preachy or as direct as a Marine Corp Drill Sergeant. Having said that, obviously huge numbers of people disagree and had their eyes opened to the threats statism poses. For that, she deserves great credit and appreciation.
No doubt Herman Melville - wherever he is - is heartbroken that Klaussmann disapproves of his novel - having merely penned one of the great and enduring masterpieces of world literature.
Dare one suggest that she might be happier with something by Sidney Sheldon or Jacqueline Suzanne?
Melville’s “Moby Dick” is the first purely American novel.
Too many notes?
__ At a time when books were published in newspapers one chapter at a time and read aloud to the family, I believe the best way to “experience” the book Moby Dick is by audiobook.
__ It is really a collection of short stories with a generally thin connecting story woven throughout. Each chapter could stand completely alone on its own merits and some of the stories are quite funny.
2) Each chapter explains, for the reading public some aspect of the whaling industry. Fascinating!
3) If, indeed, Mellville, captured the true speech of the common sailor, then the level of literacy and education of the common man and woman in the U.S. would be **outstanding** as compared to education of our nation's population today.
4) This book was written to be read by the common citizen of the day and it was. We as a nation have fallen so far educationally that our Founding Fathers must be weeping in their graves.
5) I am regret now that I didn't make Melville and important part of my children's homeschooling education. It would have added a minimum of 150 points to their SAT scores.
I agree. Audiobook is the way to go. Well, generally so, but only if the reader is skilled in making the characters come alive. A monotone reader pretty much equals a wasted investment of time and money.
It only looks like a paragraph.
It’s actually a single sentence!
Don't think so. Melville had some notoriety from previous books, but was not a widely acclaimed author with a vast following as Dickens was. I can find no evidence it was serialized prior to publication in book form.
It was first published by Richard Bentley in London on October 18, 1851, in an expurgated three-volume edition titled The Whale, and weeks later as a single volume, by New York City publisher Harper and Brothers as Moby-Dick; or, The Whale on November 14, 1851. The book initially received mixed reviews, but Moby-Dick is now considered part of the Western canon, and at the center of the canon of American novels.
***Its actually a single sentence!***
I prepared myself by reading FROM THE TRANSLATOR TO THE READER in the older printings of the KJV.;-D
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