The Last Days . . . has nothing much to do with tennis or with Roger Federer, who appears sparingly in these pages . . . [nor is it] “intended to be a comprehensive study of last things, or of lastness generally.”
Swati Khurana talks with novelist and translator Idra Novey about the challenges and joys of translation, the idiosyncrasies of language, the inextricable reception of women’s writing and women’s bodies, and much more.
Yes, I thought when I was sixteen. That sounds about right. Over at the Toast, Mikaella Clements tells us the story of how she got her middle name: being escorted through the tumultuousness of adolescence by the crazed sailor Herman Melville and his book, Moby-Dick.
The affronted world’s Ahabs, crippled by attack, vow vengeance and a show of might. At The Kenyon Review blog, Karen Malpede talks about her experience of reading Moby-Dick out loud every night and explains why the book is still relevant to our lives today.
Friday was Moby-Dick’s 164th birthday, and much celebration was to be had. Lit Hub went particularly hard, sharing all manner of whale-related materials: A history of whales in literature from Jonah to Melville to Nathaniel Philbrick; 120-year-old plaster dildos in Nantucket and the history and loneliness held within; An excerpt from War of the Whales, about the devastation of whale populations due […]
Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake aside, it’s hard to imagine a more mutualistic artist-writer pair than Robert Kloss and Matt Kish. (The Rumpus also recommends the duo of Casey Scieszka and Steven Weinberg.) Kloss and Kish (who also illustrated every page of Moby Dick) have never met, but they still manage to talk about landscapes […]
Patrick James Dunagan explores the human and professional relationship between Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne in a review of Erik Hage’s book on the subject over at Bookslut: Hawthorne inspired and reinforced Melville’s conviction to elevate the writing of Moby-Dick beyond any of the parameters he had previously explored with his earlier work. Melville’s “Mosses” review […]
For the New York Review of Books, Marilynne Robinson considers the place of Edgar Allen Poe’s novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, within the author’s prolific career. In addition to comparing Pym to other maritime novels, including Moby-Dick, Robinson argues that labeling Poe as a writer of “horror” overlooks the range and depth of his work. He has […]
Is Moby-Dick really a tougher read than Fifty Shades of Grey? Noah Berlatsky argues that the distinction depends on the reader: …”difficulty” seems to hold out the possibility of more objective standards—to assure us that these books, over here, by Joyce and Faulkner, are 1000 pounds of pure prose, while these books over there, by […]
In accordance with the 163rd anniversary of Moby-Dick, Elisabeth Donnelly explores why Melville’s “American Bible” is still relevant today: Perhaps what Moby-Dick has to offer for generations of readers is “a shaft of light in the darkness,” as Philbrick puts it. “Not that it provides any real consolation, it just resonates with what it means to be alive in the face […]
Herman Melville’s classic Moby Dick was first published on November 14th, 1851, and for the second year, a marathon reading of the novel will take place in New York City to commemorate its publication. The event is held over three days, and dozens of authors and members of the literary community are enlisted to read […]
Step #1. Call Ishmael’s number: 774.325.0503. It goes straight to voicemail. Step #2. Listen to Ishmael’s short answering machine message. It changes weekly. Step #3. Leave a voicemail about a book you love and a story you have lived. Have a personal story linked to a book you love that you’re eager to share with the […]
Need a last-minute, low-hassle outfit for trick-or-treating? This list of literary Halloween costumes (with pictures, natch) has some great ideas—just grab a “Hello, My Name Is” sticker and write “Ishmael,” and you’re good to go. There are also some fantastic examples of costumes that clearly took a lot of time and effort, like a child dressed […]
At the time of this posting, the 29th Annual Moby-Dick Marathon has about three hours left of its 24-hour reading of Herman Melville’s classic novel. When the reading finishes, attendees will celebrate Melville’s birthday “in old-fashioned style with song and cake.” Did we mention they’re doing this all on the last wooden whaling ship in the […]
Kick your summer off right with a different kind of beach read: Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. (Okay, it’s more of a sea read than a beach read.) To put you in the right mood, Liberty Hardy over at Book Riot took a stab (from hell’s heart) at a Moby-Dick playlist. From Tom Waits’s “Starving in the Belly of a […]
Ever thought, “I know Herman Melville was talking about a whale but how much, really, did he talk about a whale?” This cool page will answer your question with its graphical representation of word distribution throughout Moby Dick. The creator Adam Pearce was inspired by an infographic of frequently used words on the show The Wire and styled his […]
Did Herman Melville hook you? As part of an effort to reintroduce the world, as well as introduce new generations, to Moby Dick, artist Angela Cockayne and writer Philip Hoare have organized a 135 day, online reading of the 135 chapters of the book. The project features readers such as Tilda Swinton, Stephen Fry, and David Cameron […]
Here’s a hypothesis: one of the reasons Moby-Dick has survived so long in English classes is that the number of Moby-Dick-related essay topics is almost limitless. Moby-Dick is so vast and contains so much stuff—there’s no better word for it than “stuff”—that you could come up with new angles on it for a whole English […]