Moby Dick Group Read?

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Moby Dick Group Read?

Post by Alatar »

I thought this might be a cool idea. I've never actually read Moby Dick, but this seems like not only a great way to do it, but also to make it a group read.

You'll get an email each week with the chapters/events from that time period in the book (which covers roughly two years)

https://whaleweekly.substack.com/about
Welcome to Whale Weekly: a serialized (but unabridged) version of Moby Dick, delivered to your inbox.
Wish you could take 2 years to finish Moby Dick without feeling bad about it? You’ve come to the right place.

Whale Weekly will begin in November, 2022 and installments will continue for approximately two years in accordance with the passage of time in the novel.

FAQ
Moby Dick isn’t epistolary. How do you know the dates corresponding to each chapter?
Short answer: I don’t!

Long answer: While the novel is by no means epistolary and Melville presumably never would have wanted it to be read in this fashion, there are a handful of cues in the text that illustrate the passage of time. The first few chapters are especially detailed in this regard - we’re told the Pequod leaves harbor on Christmas and the narrator is quite specific before that about how many days are going by from one event to the next. For the later chapters, I relied on references to geography and weather to approximate the time of year and did some guesswork to fill in the gaps.

When does it start and end?
The first email will be delivered on November 21, 2022 and the last on September 16, 2024.

Do the emails correspond exactly with the novel as written?
Almost - fear not, the entire unabridged text of the novel will be included (even Etymology and Extracts, for you purists out there), but there are occasional changes to the order of the chapters.

These changes won’t have a significant impact on the experience of reading the novel, but if you’re curious, I’ve placed Chapter 1: Loomings before Etymology and Extracts so we can start off with the iconic “Call me Ishmael” and slightly rearranged chapters 61-68 to get through Stubb’s exciting day of whaling in a more timely manner.

I have SO many thoughts about the whale book. Is there somewhere I can share them?
You’re in luck! The Whale Weekly discord server is a great place to discuss each installment with fellow Moby fans and you can join it right here.

Whale Weekly is a project inspired by Matt Kirkland’s Dracula Daily.
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Re: Moby Dick Group Read?

Post by Alatar »

Well, it appears I may be on my own. Still, thoughts on the first missive. Its quite verbose while saying very little. Is Ishmael a Lord, a schoolmaster, a pauper? We have no idea. He talks of poverty side by side with descriptions of teaching students. Still, I doff my hat to anyone who can use the word "circumambulate" :)
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Re: Moby Dick Group Read?

Post by Inanna »

I’m game. Missed the post of yours. And I’ve never read it either.

First step would be to get a copy, eh? ;)
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Re: Moby Dick Group Read?

Post by Frelga »

I think they send you an email with each chapter. That's how the Dracula read worked. Which I also skipped because I've read that book a sufficient number of times (one).

I read Moby Dick an excessive number of times (one).
I thought this might be a cool idea. I've never actually read Moby Dick,
The second sentence may explain the first. :blackeye:

Son had a unit on Moby Dick in high school. They did some very good literary analysis, and also learned about the history of the whaling industry, made whale-themed crafts (I got a nice key chain out of it), and even went on a whale watching trip. It was a great experience, except for the part where they had to read the book.

Still, it shows that it is possible to have a fun time with it if you are in a good company. There is a very good 100 page story in there and I hope you enjoy it.
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
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Re: Moby Dick Group Read?

Post by Inanna »

Oh no. If it’s one of those classics, I will never get through it.
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Re: Moby Dick Group Read?

Post by Alatar »

THats the advantage of this approach Inanna. Bite sized chunks. The last update was pretty brief!
ETYMOLOGY.
(Supplied by a Late Consumptive Usher to a Grammar School.)
The pale Usher—threadbare in coat, heart, body, and brain; I see him now. He was ever dusting his old lexicons and grammars, with a queer handkerchief, mockingly embellished with all the gay flags of all the known nations of the world. He loved to dust his old grammars; it somehow mildly reminded him of his mortality.

“While you take in hand to school others, and to teach them by what name a whale-fish is to be called in our tongue, leaving out, through ignorance, the letter H, which almost alone maketh up the signification of the word, you deliver that which is not true.” —Hackluyt.

“WHALE.…Sw. and Dan. hval. This animal is named from roundness or rolling; for in Dan. hvalt is arched or vaulted.” —Webster’s Dictionary.

“WHALE.…It is more immediately from the Dut. and Ger. Wallen; A.S. Walw-ian, to roll, to wallow.” —Richardson’s Dictionary.

חו, Hebrew.

ϰητος, Greek.

CETUS, Latin.

WHŒL, Anglo-Saxon.

HVALT, Danish.

WAL, Dutch.

HWAL, Swedish.

HVALUR, Icelandic.

WHALE, English.

BALEINE, French.

BALLENA, Spanish.

PEKEE-NUEE-NUEE, Fegee.

PEHEE-NUEE-NUEE, Erromangoan.
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Re: Moby Dick Group Read?

Post by Frelga »

Off topic, but I remembered that there is a recording of Dracula read by Christopher Lee popping on and off YouTube, and if you can catch it, it's a delight. It also significantly condenses the book, which may or may not be to its detriment.
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
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Re: Moby Dick Group Read?

Post by Frelga »

On topic, this is brilliant. The first chapter of Moby Dick with very slight modernization. And I mean, very slight but it makes the themes a lot more understandable.

the first chapter of Moby Dick rewritten in tiresome modern idiom
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
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Re: Moby Dick Group Read?

Post by narya »

I checked with my Libby App. Not only is there a copy available in the Los Angeles Public Library, there are over 40 different editions available, abridged, unabridged, Marvel Comics version, versions toned down for kids, and versions in English, French and Spanish. One of the audio narrators is Burt Reynolds, but sadly, that is one of the abridged additions, so only 4 hours of him, vs 20 hours for the most pedantic of the narrators. And there are even books on how and why to read Moby Dick.

Frelga! ***wipes eyes*** that was just, wow! And I see that you can get a copy of the book on line at Project Gutenburg, as mentioned at the end of that marvelous screed. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/2701/2701-h/2701-h.htm. The first few pages, before Chapter 1, are the Etymologies - the ones that Alatar copied above.

I'm halfway tempted to join you, Alatar. Where are you now in the book?

As for Etymologies, they left out quite a few:

Japanese: 鯨 - くじらい- Kujira - which sounds similar to Gojira (Godzilla) - I suspect there is a similar etymology there

Iñupiat (northern Alaskan Eskimo): Agvik (bowhead whale), Agvigluak (gray whale)

Yup'ik (south western Alaskan Eskimo): Arvek (bowhead), assigarnaq (white whale - beluga), cetuqupak (gray whale), cikaarturta (right whale), ulurrugnaq (legendary monster that ate whales and was, one would presume, rather large). As you can imagine, whale hunting was a big part of Yup'ik culture.

Tlingit Indian: yáay (whale), kéet (orca)

Russian: кит - Kit - (sounds quite similar to the Tlingit word for Orca)
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Re: Moby Dick Group Read?

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This person's Tumblr has a lot of thoughts about Melville. They are accurate. For example, consider Whale Facts.
Ishmael’s voice throughout is of frantic, somewhat desperate persuasion mixed with last-minute undergraduate bullshit, swinging between lofty theological authority and accusing the reader of being a fish.
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
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Re: Moby Dick Group Read?

Post by narya »

"Fish" can mean a variety of things. (Don't look it up on the Internet. Really. Just don't.) I'm assuming he was using the "naive" meaning.
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Re: Moby Dick Group Read?

Post by Impenitent »

narya wrote: Sat Jan 14, 2023 9:21 pm "Fish" can mean a variety of things. (Don't look it up on the Internet. Really. Just don't.)
Well, now you've forced my hand.
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Re: Moby Dick Group Read?

Post by Inanna »

What did you find? What did you find?

Inquiring minds want to know.
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Re: Moby Dick Group Read?

Post by Alatar »

I actually stopped since there was so little interest Narya, happy to jump back in if anyone wants to.
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