U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Entertainment and Arts > Books
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 03-01-2012, 04:57 PM
 
15,201 posts, read 8,477,601 times
Reputation: 65876

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by 601halfdozen0theother View Post
I've been thinking this would have been the right time to buy an e-reader since the book is so long and probably heavy. We'll see how it goes!
If you do get an ereader, Moby Dick and other books published before 1923 and now digitized will be free! I bought a Kindle Touch and have been enjoying a bunch of free classics. MD is on my list but I just started a different 600+ page book so...one at a time Hope this book club thread is a success - enjoy!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 03-02-2012, 10:10 AM
 
5,115 posts, read 4,021,948 times
Reputation: 15413
Yay, BanjoMike!
I'm a day late on getting started - had to travel for work yesterday (with a 23 year old intern - was I that full of ego at 23???). My book's waiting for me at the bookstore and I'll go as soon as it stops snizzling. I'm also going to get Philbrick's Why Read Moby Dick as I figure that might give me hints as to what I SHOULD be understanding.

I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's thoughts!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-02-2012, 03:27 PM
 
2,848 posts, read 4,189,975 times
Reputation: 3521
I've started. I was actually primed for 19th century prose having read some Dreiser recently. Melville's actually relatively naturalistic in comparison. I haven't read The Art of Fielding, but my Moby-Dick edition has annotations, commentary, and quite a few essays written at the time of its publishing. A relevant comment in a critical analysis might provide some thematic parallel to The Art of Fielding: [paraphrasing] "Spirited Ismael laughs to challenge threats to his body. Ahab laughs to challenge threats to his soul." Would the difference between endeavor and obsession be what's invoked in your baseball book?

As for the difficulty of reading, I don't find it that difficult. When Melville meanders into essays I just enjoy the language he uses to conjure a world. This is a real world, one in the past. When I get antsy to return to the core narrative, I just imagine the author himself selecting words by candlelight to convey the minutiae of his environment.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-02-2012, 03:37 PM
 
5,210 posts, read 8,290,162 times
Reputation: 5849
Looks like I'm ahead of the game - I'm on chapter 10!

I haven't read The Art of Fielding, so I can't comment on that. But, like Bunjee, I don't think that Moby Dick is very difficult to read. In fact, I'm surprised at how much humor I'm finding in this book.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-02-2012, 06:47 PM
 
7,251 posts, read 7,360,465 times
Reputation: 8448
I'm tempted to join you, although my next big read was going to be Bleak House.

Unfortunately, my library card is in limbo at the moment.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-03-2012, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Old Mother Idaho
17,046 posts, read 10,974,426 times
Reputation: 11826
I'm off to a late start too, halfdozen, but I'm headed out in a minute to go buy a copy. All you guys have me all fired up to get into it.!

Coincidentally, I recently saw the newest movie version, which stars William Hurt as Ahab, and Ethan Hawke as Ishmael, and this is what revived my interest in reading the book again. The movie has Hurt's Ahab as a wealthy refined man, and his portrayal of Ahab doesn't go into the scenery chewing excess that Gregory Peck did in the 1956 version. Hurt understood the fine lines between madness and obsession, and goes both places. He's all the more chilling for it, too.

I suggest you don't watch the movie until after reading the book, though... even though it has been a very long time, I still remembered enough of the book to notice some of the movie's additions (yup- including a Mrs. Ahab) and trimmings.

Last edited by banjomike; 03-03-2012 at 11:26 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-04-2012, 06:49 PM
 
5,115 posts, read 4,021,948 times
Reputation: 15413
Well, I've begun! I had a lovely Sunday reading in bed with 3 cats helping me, with breaks to take the dog on walks. It's snowing, too, so it's been a perfect day for this.

But, here's my confession. I started by reading Philbrick's Why Read Moby Dick, and I read the chapters in Moby Dick as Philbrick referred to them. So, I've read the following chapters in MD in this order: 85, 49, 28, 36, 35, 42, 87, 94, 105, 128, 132, 133.

Why is a lovely little book - nice design, a quick and easy read (127 p.) Philbrook reads a LOT into MD: p. 6 "Contained in the pages of Moby Dick is nothing less than the genetic code of America: all the promises, problems, conflicts and ideals . . . " p. 9 " . . . the one book that deserves to be called our American bible. As individuals trying to find our way through the darkness, as citizens of a nation trying to live up to the ideals set forth in our constitution, we need, more than ever, Moby Dick." Whew! I'm not sure that he proved all of that in his essays.

He explains that Melville not only worked on a whaling boat as a young man, but as he wrote MD he was strongly influenced by reading Shakespeare, the Bible, Milton, Virgil and Hawthorne. This, he says (and I believe from my initial reading today) is the reason there are so many different tones in MD. In fact, Philbrook writes that Melville initially wrote MD as an adventure story - then met and was influenced by Hawthorne and inserted the Ahab character and re-wrote the whole thing.

Philbrook also believes that the meandering nature of the book was intentional. Melville intentionally controlled the pacing of the book by inserting discoursive chapters between plot driven chapters. In chapter 42 (if my notes are correct) Ishmael says that his writing method is a "careful disorderliness", which was true for Melville.

Melville's realism is one of the main reasons Philbrook believes he was a great writer. Why p. 111: "The White Whale is not a symbol. He is as real as you or I . . . This is the fundamental reason we continue to read this or any other literary classic. It's not the dazzling technique of the author; it's his or her ability to deliver reality on the page."

I don't think I'll write here about the chapters in MD that I read today. I'd like to talk about them at about the same time as the rest of you readers. Will we understand the same themes that Philbrook does?

Anyway, I'm now going to start reading the book from beginning to end. But I do think that my reading today has helped me to understand the background and themes and purposes of the book. I confess that I like to read to lose myself in another world, and Melville's use of Shakespearean/King James biblical language and discoursive chapters interupt that narrative flow that makes reading a pleasure for me. So we'll see if it's all a struggle!

Today I did something I haven't done in years - I've underlined and written comments and questions in margins of both books. THAT'S something you can't do with an e-reader! (Or can you?)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-05-2012, 08:58 AM
 
5,210 posts, read 8,290,162 times
Reputation: 5849
At this point, I'm rereading one of the chapters (8 or 9?) called The Sermon - there's a lot going on in this chapter but it's kind of boring to me and the temptation is to just read to get through it. But I don't want to miss out on the finer points that (I think) are being made here ...So, I've backtracked to do a reread.

At any rate, I'll be interested in hearing some of your insights into this particular chapter.

And I'm ready to talk about the first chapters whenever you all are.

Last edited by springfieldva; 03-05-2012 at 09:08 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-05-2012, 09:37 AM
 
5,210 posts, read 8,290,162 times
Reputation: 5849
Quote:
Originally Posted by 601halfdozen0theother View Post
Well, I've begun! I had a lovely Sunday reading in bed with 3 cats helping me, with breaks to take the dog on walks. It's snowing, too, so it's been a perfect day for this.

But, here's my confession. I started by reading Philbrick's Why Read Moby Dick, and I read the chapters in Moby Dick as Philbrick referred to them. So, I've read the following chapters in MD in this order: 85, 49, 28, 36, 35, 42, 87, 94, 105, 128, 132, 133.

Why is a lovely little book - nice design, a quick and easy read (127 p.) Philbrook reads a LOT into MD: p. 6 "Contained in the pages of Moby Dick is nothing less than the genetic code of America: all the promises, problems, conflicts and ideals . . . " p. 9 " . . . the one book that deserves to be called our American bible. As individuals trying to find our way through the darkness, as citizens of a nation trying to live up to the ideals set forth in our constitution, we need, more than ever, Moby Dick." Whew! I'm not sure that he proved all of that in his essays.

He explains that Melville not only worked on a whaling boat as a young man, but as he wrote MD he was strongly influenced by reading Shakespeare, the Bible, Milton, Virgil and Hawthorne. This, he says (and I believe from my initial reading today) is the reason there are so many different tones in MD. In fact, Philbrook writes that Melville initially wrote MD as an adventure story - then met and was influenced by Hawthorne and inserted the Ahab character and re-wrote the whole thing.

Philbrook also believes that the meandering nature of the book was intentional. Melville intentionally controlled the pacing of the book by inserting discoursive chapters between plot driven chapters. In chapter 42 (if my notes are correct) Ishmael says that his writing method is a "careful disorderliness", which was true for Melville.

Melville's realism is one of the main reasons Philbrook believes he was a great writer. Why p. 111: "The White Whale is not a symbol. He is as real as you or I . . . This is the fundamental reason we continue to read this or any other literary classic. It's not the dazzling technique of the author; it's his or her ability to deliver reality on the page."

I don't think I'll write here about the chapters in MD that I read today. I'd like to talk about them at about the same time as the rest of you readers. Will we understand the same themes that Philbrook does?

Anyway, I'm now going to start reading the book from beginning to end. But I do think that my reading today has helped me to understand the background and themes and purposes of the book. I confess that I like to read to lose myself in another world, and Melville's use of Shakespearean/King James biblical language and discoursive chapters interupt that narrative flow that makes reading a pleasure for me. So we'll see if it's all a struggle!

Today I did something I haven't done in years - I've underlined and written comments and questions in margins of both books. THAT'S something you can't do with an e-reader! (Or can you?)
I didn't know that Melville worked on a whaling boat but given the descriptions in MD it doesn't surprise me. He is definitely familiar with his topic.

So far, the thing that has really struck me about Melville's writing is how it is both beautifully descriptive and sarcastically funny at the same time. Ishmael is a such a class clown - lol.

Shakespearean influenced? I can see that.

In a broader sense, I know that Moby Dick is an allegorical tale and that the whale represents far more than a mere creature. It'll be interesting to see how this all develops.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-05-2012, 01:06 PM
 
2,848 posts, read 4,189,975 times
Reputation: 3521
Quote:
Originally Posted by springfieldva View Post
At this point, I'm rereading one of the chapters (8 or 9?) called The Sermon - there's a lot going on in this chapter but it's kind of boring to me and the temptation is to just read to get through it. But I don't want to miss out on the finer points that (I think) are being made here ...So, I've backtracked to do a reread.

At any rate, I'll be interested in hearing some of your insights into this particular chapter.

And I'm ready to talk about the first chapters whenever you all are.
You know, despite Father Mapple's stern and settled invocations of God I think Melville's posing more questions here. There's a fatalism at work. I think the telling phrase is "...to obey God we must disobey ourselves." Joseph Campbell talked about the Jonah allegory, about letting "the sea" swallow you, losing consciousness of the self. It's a specifically Buddhist idea, but a common human one and as a Catholic I understand it. It can cleave many ways, from universalism to proto-atheist redefinitions. I'm trying to figure out which way Melville is actually going with it, and I'd say we're right to revisit this. I think it's a sign-post chapter.

So...I went on a lark and looked at Melville's astrological make-up online, for an August 1 birthdate: "Leos born on August 1 have a somewhat haughty personality but are lovable people. They need the validation of others, yet they are not likely to sacrifice their true self to that aim. These people set themselves a goal and go after it with little thought of how much time or effort it will require." Sounds like our first person narrator Ismelville.

When I first read Moby Dick it was probably the prose style that made me think it was so dour. Now I see the lightness, the humor, and the adventurous good will. And good grief, whatever his cultural ignorance this man from the 19th century was way better travelled than I am!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Entertainment and Arts > Books
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2017, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 - Top