Still alive and kickin’

I just wanted to post a quick update. It’s been a week since my last post, but I’ve been so swamped that I haven’t been able to write anything substantial–at least, anything substantial that is NOT related to mid-nineteenth century prefaces and/or Hannah Webster Foster’s 18th-century sentimental novel, The Coquette. So bear with me, I’ll be back soon (I’m hoping for a longer post tonight)! Besides, have pity on me: I’m in the middle of reading Melville’s Moby-Dick, which I am surprised to find myself enjoying, although I suspect not for the reasons Melville would have me enjoy his book. Nevertheless, I’m finding it strangely gripping: I mean, who can resist a novel that spends an entire chapter discussing “the whiteness of the whale”? It’s no surprise to me that nineteenth-century readers were not interested in this novel because it’s quite unlike anything I’ve read in the period before. Quite frankly, it’s a mess of a book but I think that’s the reason I’m enjoying it (although, from what I hear, Melville’s Pierre is even worse–and I have that waiting patiently on my desk for the first free moment I have) . I think Moby-Dick was a bit ahead of its time… But once I finish it, I’m sure I’ll have more to say.

9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Danielle on April 18, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    I actually sort of want to read Moby Dick. When I was younger I never would have considered it, but it is amazing how your mind changes as you get older!


  2. Posted by Loose Baggy Monster on April 18, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    danielle–I completely agree! I’m at a place in my life right now where I can appreciate the absurdity of the novel, whereas a few years ago, I would have been much more impatient with Melville’s style. I’m looking forward to reading more of his works.


  3. Posted by Carl V. on April 19, 2007 at 8:43 am

    I cannot see the title Moby Dick without thinking of Jeff Smith’s wonderful graphic novel, Bone. The lead character is a huge fan of Moby Dick and is always putting everyone around him to sleep with his ravings about the story.


  4. Posted by Loose Baggy Monster on April 19, 2007 at 9:31 am

    carl–that is fantastic! My main problem with Moby-Dick has been restraining myself when I’m in public as I’ve caught myself laughing out loud and then I have to explain what was so funny and generally….people fall asleep! I’ll have to check out Bone when I’m done with Melville.


  5. Posted by David on April 19, 2007 at 10:51 am

    I read it when I was studying in Scotland and perhaps it was my state of mind, but sperm whale oil didn’t do it for me.


  6. Posted by Loose Baggy Monster on April 19, 2007 at 11:31 am

    david–oh i agree–the subject isn’t as interesting to me as the way the book is put together. But it also has some of the best one-liners in the world…


  7. Posted by Clio Bluestocking on April 19, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    I used to work at a place where Moby Dick was sort of their Bible (long story! trust me!). I wasn’t quite as impressed, but was surprised to find that it was a pretty good book. Some of it was hilarious and some of it quite poignant; and I felt that I could catch and render a whale by the time that I was finished. It was part novel, part whaling manual.


  8. Posted by Stephanie on April 20, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    Hmmmm….in the last 3 years, I’ve started reading the “Classics” again. I’m working my way through them slowly…but have never really wanted to read Moby Dick. I’ll wait for your review!


  9. Posted by Petunia on April 24, 2007 at 12:40 pm

    Ugh! I read Moby Dick a couple of years ago. My reward for finishing it? A promise to myself that I will never have to read it again. Good luck to you.


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