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
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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?
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