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Thread: Herman Melville

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    Herman Melville

    I'd place him, without hesitation, in the company of Shakespeare, Homer, Goethe, Flaubert, Joyce. I recently reread his shorter works and began rereading Moby Dick last night. Such a formidable, sprawling and complex novel.

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    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Yes, I agree, Moby Dick ranks up there with very greats.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    "Love follows knowledge." St. Catherine of Siena

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

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    Inexplicably Undiscovered
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    I couldn't agree more. It's been said that there are a few books that a person should read every decade of his life. Ulysses is one of those books; Moby Dick is another.

    You might also enjoy The Confidence Man, the complete text of which you can find online for free. There are plenty of notes and critical articles about Melville online also.

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    Registered User curlyqlink's Avatar
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    I re-read Moby Dick recently and I gotta confess, I just don't understand this novel's status. Although the book is very, very good in parts--it has one of the finest opening passages in literature--I find it very inconsistent. The long digressions on the technicalities of whaling frankly bore me... and I'm a person who is interested in things nautical.

    I find Ahab most compelling before he ever appears on deck. When he keeps to his cabin, an unseen threat, he is most ominous. Long before the end of the book, though, I find the character wearing thin. He is very much a Symbol and not nearly enough a man. My opinion, anyway.

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    Registered User aeroport's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morten View Post
    I'd place him, without hesitation, in the company of Shakespeare, Homer, Goethe, Flaubert, Joyce. I recently reread his shorter works and began rereading Moby Dick last night. Such a formidable, sprawling and complex novel.
    YES!
    That and a few of his stories are some of my favorite works of literature. I've found all of his stuff pretty interesting so far, though - with the sole exception (and I cannot emphasize this enough) of Pierre! Wretched, awful book! It's like he was trying to take revenge on people who reviewed Moby-Dick negatively - because, frankly, I can't see anyone but critics actually reading through the whole thing at the time...
    But yes, Moby-Dick is wild. I just might do that every-decade thing...

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    Pewter Pots! eyemaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morten View Post
    I'd place him, without hesitation, in the company of Shakespeare, Homer, Goethe, Flaubert, Joyce. I recently reread his shorter works and began rereading Moby Dick last night. Such a formidable, sprawling and complex novel.
    Very much agree! His works are really applauded without any second thought.
    Moby Dick is indeed brilliant...Actually I'm planning to reread again the said novel ...I really love to..
    I guess I have to stay up late at night...I still have loads of novels to read.
    ..not to mention..I broke my glasses this very morning

    "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise."

    -- F. Scott Fitzgerald

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    Quote Originally Posted by curlyqlink View Post
    I re-read Moby Dick recently and I gotta confess, I just don't understand this novel's status. Although the book is very, very good in parts--it has one of the finest opening passages in literature--I find it very inconsistent. The long digressions on the technicalities of whaling frankly bore me...
    I confess, I don't understand this oft-repeated criticism. Do people really think of Melville as a conventional novelist, and expect a tidy, linear nautical yarn?

    Even his debut novel Typee was full of digressions on various topics. Perhaps it wasn't as sprawling as Moby-Dick, but the structure was obviously not particularly novelistic. All of his longer works (I hesitate to call them novels) are built from a lot of seemingly miscellaneous material.

    Personally, I found the literary satire and the detail-obsessions of fussy Ishmael fascinating, but there's no law that says you can't skip the parts about whaling rope and the whiteness of the whale if you can't bear 'em.

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