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.
Moby Dick was an OK short story hidden in a rotten book.
The hollow sound of a book hitting a head isn’t always the book.
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.
I got a chuckle when Starbuck seved coffee to the captains.
That’s what I think when I read Ayn Rand.
They were too busy also ignoring Walt Whitman...
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!)
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?
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.