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"You! -- you whale-killing, blubber-hunting, light-gathering varmint!"

"Moby Dick" can be an intimidating read, so why not whet your appetite with some source material? "Mocha Dick" was a giant sperm whale in the early 1800's who destroyed over 20 whaling ships. You can read the original 1839 article written by explorer Jeremiah Reynolds that helped inspire Herman Melville in the creation of his masterwork. If even that is too much for you, author Brian Heinz and artist Randall Enos have created a striking children's book based on the original story.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jul 16, 2014 - 32 comments

The Moby Dick Variations

Where does one novel end and another one begin? One day not too long ago, I was thinking about this as I considered what sort of message to send next to my little email list. I decided to do a little research. Gather just a bit of data.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 25, 2014 - 22 comments

The Annual Halloween Horde of Horrible Happenings

Mid-19th C. terrors, ca. 1840-1865: short fiction selected for the occasion by Miriam Burstein, a.k.a. The Little Professor, an expert on 19th C. British literature (especially including "lost" but formerly popular religious novels). [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Oct 29, 2013 - 11 comments

A Los Angeles Review of Books essay on Melville by William Giraldi

The Writer As Reader: Melville and his Marginalia In the General Rare Books Collection at Princeton University Library sits a stunning two-volume edition of John Milton that once belonged to Herman Melville. Melville's tremendous debt to Milton — and to Homer, Virgil, the Bible, and Shakespeare — might be evident to anyone who has wrestled with the moral and intellectual complexity that lends Moby Dick its immortal heft, but to see Melville's marginalia in his 1836 Poetical Works of John Milton is to understand just how intimately the author of the great American novel engaged with the author of the greatest poem in English. Checkmarks, underscores, annotations, and Xs reveal the passages in Paradise Lost and other poems that would have such a determining effect on Melville's own work.
posted by jason's_planet on Sep 1, 2013 - 11 comments

Fuzzy Flounder Fishing?

Johnny Bench Called The Ten Most Obscure Archer jokes, explained. [more inside]
posted by PapaLobo on Apr 12, 2012 - 194 comments

The books are gravy

i wanted to call him up and tell him his notes are funny, but then i realized he DIED A MONTH AGO. bummer. Craig Fehrman traces the post-mortem dispersion of writers' personal libraries: in particular, David Markson's personal library and the way in which his fans are using Facebook to reconstruct the range of Markson's reading.
posted by catlet on Sep 23, 2010 - 12 comments

Caricatures from the late 19th Century and early 20th

900 caricatures of noted Victorian and Edwardian personages from British society magazine Vanity Fair which ran from 1868 to 1914. Among those pictured are Oscar Wilde, Benjamin Disraeli, Herman Melville, Alfred Dreyfus, Teddy Roosevelt, Gustave Eiffel and Charles Boycott (from whose name comes the word). A couple are mildly not safe for work, a few quite racist, as was the prevalent attitude of the time, and at least one is both.
posted by Kattullus on Jul 21, 2008 - 30 comments

"We are committed to personal service" vs. "I would prefer not to"

Surviving office work: 2006. Surviving office work: 1853. The more things change......
posted by lalochezia on Oct 20, 2006 - 16 comments

There she blows!

Melville's Marginalia Online. The study of Herman Melville's creative process has long been hampered by a lack of primary sources. Melville's long lost annotations (they were written in pencil and subsequently erased) to the 1839 book The Natural History of the Sperm Whale have been restored through high-tech innovations such as squinting and digital photography. The results are available here in a PDF file. [more inside]
posted by marxchivist on Feb 13, 2006 - 22 comments

Call me Ishmael

Thinking of reading Moby Dick? Let David Sedaris do it for you. And don't forget the amazing Assassinations Foretold in Moby Dick!
posted by Outlawyr on Sep 7, 2003 - 12 comments

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