Friday, April 14, 2023

Moby-Dick, Chapter-by-Chapter | A Kaplowitz Media. Project Announcement (& Herman Melville and Walt Whitman | The White Whale and Abraham Lincoln)

Moby-Dick, Chapter-by-Chapter | A Kaplowitz Media. Project Announcement (& Herman Melville and Walt Whitman | The White Whale and Abraham Lincoln)

"Oh, my captain, my captain!--noble heart--go not--go not!--see, it’s a brave man that weeps; how great the agony of the persuasion then!” "Lower away!"--cried Ahab, tossing the mate’s arm from him. "Stand by the crew!" Herman Melville, Moby-Dick.

"O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;" Walt Whitman, O Captain! My Captain!

It's more than a-plenty to make one's sea legs fail-fall out from under them. The undercurrent, as is the struggle, is real. And I don't just mean the ones portrayed both real and unreal but also, the quite real struggle (mine anyway) in reading amongst the landless endless undulating waves upon waves of Melville's style. A style, much like Whitman's but left to freely roam the much greater and also lesser confines of a novel at sea.

A bit ago, I teased an upcoming project wherein I would read and review LIVE, Moby-Dick. I said it would be in podcast form. That won't be happening. You're welcome--believe me. However, read on to see what the project will be. But first...

I had read some smattering of Melville at that time, but not Moby-Dick. Yes, I'm surprised too. I must admit that I peeked ahead a tick since. Then another tick. Then began vigorously to skim. Occasionally I'd read a chapter or two. It is, as a work, predominantly insane. Thankfully, insane is a genre I hold near and dear to my heart. I began eating more clam chowder than ever. I gave serious contemplation to a hammock. I plan to fish a lot this summer.

I could go on but let's see to those quotes.

Walt Whitman and Herman Melville were born about three months apart in 1819. Also about an hour away in car-driving time. Whitman in White Hills and Melville in NYC. As to those quotes, The Whale was published in Jolly Old and in three parts in 1851 (later that year, as Moby-Dick in America). As to Whitman, those words were penned in 1865, on the heels of Lincoln's assassination.

No, I am not claiming plagiarism. No, I am also not ruling out homage, or even no link whatsoever. Lastly no, I am not delving into the history which may or may not (dis)connect the two in any factual manner. However, I am interested in the idea of Abraham Lincoln vs. Moby-Dick. Not in a fanfic manner, but hey--maybe another time.

Moreso I am interested in what way Whitman might have correlated the two, Lincoln & Ahab. I am also not going too very deep because this entry is mainly a vehicle to tell you what my WHALE of a project will, in fact, be--and how it will unfurl like so many sails upon so many masts. I'm not really good with nautical lingo.

The great white whale to Whitman thru Lincoln is probably something like his view on taming the other force of nature which is the human experience as it plays unsavorily-out in regards to the American Civil War and its stakes. I said I'd be brief. Perhaps Walt was the first to use (allude to) the 'white whale' in this manner. Ah, brevity! Ah, laziness! Now for the project--my own white whale if you will--har she blows--

I will carefully read a few to a handful of Moby-Dick chapters, and then share my written thoughts on them. There are 135 chapters in this thing. Not including a pair of preambles and an epilogue. Between that pre and post, within that 135, exists adventure fiction, epic, sea story, encyclopedic novel, travelogue, allegory, and tall tale. Many deem it to be the Great American Novel. Many are with me in citing its insanity. I'll say now these are not mutually exclusive. It is quite likely both.

In short, Moby-Dick is a bit much. This project then will take a good bit of time. It might even take a decent bit of that other M-D, Mad Dog 20/20. We shall sea; I meant to type it that way. Why, these whaling voyages took three or four years, themselves. So voyage, that's a good word to bear in mind. We set sail before the month's end! A quote from the book with which to end and soon begin upon:

"All my means are sane, my motive and my object mad."

::: very :::

Read the first installment HERE.