Sunday, September 23, 2012

10 Chapters That Make You Want To Shove 'Moby Dick' Down Melville's Blowhole

1. The Counterpane ('Thinks I, Queequeg, under the circumstances, this a very civilised overture; but the truth is, these savages have an innate sense of delicacy, say what you will; it is marvellous how essentially polite they are.')

2. Chowder ('It was made of small juicy clams, scarcely bigger than hazel nuts, mixed with pounded ship biscuits, and salted pork cut into little flakes; the whole enriched with butter, and plentifully seasoned with pepper and salt.')

3. Cetology ('Thus ends BOOK I. (Folio), and now begins BOOK II. (Octavo)')

4. The Mast-Head ('Concerning all this, it is much to be deplored that the mast-heads of a southern whale-ship are unprovided with those enviable little tents, or pulpits, called crow's nests, in which the look-outs of a Greenland whaler are protected from the inclement weather of the frozen seas'.)

5. Of the Less Erroneous Pictures of Whales, and the True Pictures of Whaling Scenes ('All Beale's drawings of this whale are good, excepting the middle figure in the picture of three whales in various attitides, capping his second chapter.')

6. Of Whales in Paint; in Teeth; in Wood; in Sheet-Iron; in Stone; in Mountain; in Stars ('An ancient Hawaiian war-club or spear-paddle, in its full multipilicity and elaboration of carving, is as great a trophy of human perserverance as a Latin lexicon'.)

7. Stubb and Flask Kill a Right Whale; and Then Have a Talk Over Him ('Nor all the coopers in creation couldn't show hoops enough to make oughts enough.')

8. The Sperm Whale's Head - Contrasted View ('Let us now note what is least dissimilar in these heads - namely, the two most important organs, the eye and the ear.')

9. Pitchpoling ('To make them run easily and swiftly, the axles of carriages are anointed; and for much the same purpose, some whalers perform an analogous operation upon their boat; they grease the bottom'.)

10. The Try-Works ('Removing this hatch we expose the great try-pots, two in number, and each of several barrels' capacity.)

But it's all worth it for this line:

'Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee.'

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