Matt’s review of Moby-Dick > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Liana (new)

Liana I've never read this book, nor really meant to but now I will because of this great review.

message 2: by Jim (last edited Mar 09, 2010 03:09PM) (new)

Jim Now I want to read MD a third time. Oh had we but world enough and time ...

message 3: by Matt (new)

Matt Thanks everyone for the kind words

message 4: by S. (new)

S. Matt- I know I will find myself quoting you in my class this fall. And your summary of Shakepeare's language, the "chiming music of cognition..." --you just made my morning!

message 5: by Matt (new)

Matt Thanks Sheryll Annelise! Right back at you- you just totally made my day!

message 6: by Stephen M (new)

Stephen M Oh my goodness. This is a wonderful review. All of your points are beautifully stated and well supported. I will definitely be returning to this review when I finish. It has made me really excited to get back to reading it!

message 7: by Matt (new)

Matt *bows deeply*

message 8: by Matt (new)

Matt Bird- yeah, I was pretty sure that was the sole female in the text. Wasn't sure if she had a speaking part or not, or anything particularly of substance to add...come to think of it, there really aren't (m)any women characters in Melville's other fiction, at least none I have read and can remember. Billy Budd, Bartleby, The Encentatas, The Confidence Man....Andrew Delbanco seems to be interested in this phenomenon, too: he makes a bit of hay about it in his excellent and addictingly readable "life and work."

message 9: by Chris (new)

Chris your review certainly inspires me to hold fast to this decade old ambition; to read the bugger!

message 10: by Matt (new)

Matt It tasks, it heaps...sheds it!

If nothing else, you'll have bragging rights

message 11: by Graychin (new)

Graychin I reread MD every five years or so and it only gets better every time.

message 12: by Matt (new)

Matt Pretty much the definition of a classic, by a lot of people's estimations

message 13: by Jessika (new)

Jessika What a wonderful review. It makes me wish I had enjoyed it more when I read it! Maybe one of these days, I will sit down and re-read it. I did hang on to my copy, so with cold winter days coming, I might have to give it another go.

message 14: by Matt (new)

Matt Thanks, Jess! Here's hoping you do!

message 15: by Steve (new)

Steve I already 'liked' this once before, but with this comment I'm upgrading it to 'really liked'. I'd always been scared off by the density of the book. You've convinced me, though, Matt, that there are plenty of benefits to outweigh the tedious parts.

message 16: by Matt (new)

Matt Glad to hear it, Steve! It's absolutely worth it, as long as you're sort of willing to give Melville the benefit of the doubt on his verbal density and encyclopedic tendencies, plus all that philosophical obsessiveness. I don't mean to hedge the bets, but I do promise you that there's every bit the profound reading experience in it for ya if you hop on the ship!

message 17: by Matt (new)

Matt ps

I can't remember- do I owe you a letter or is it the other way around? Probably my bad...better get to work on that...

message 18: by Steve (new)

Steve Ahoy! I'm on it, Matt. Thanks.

Regarding mail, we had a few going back and forth when Lou Reed died and you wrote that incredible tribute in The Millions, but I don't think it was clear who owed who. It might very well be on me.

message 19: by Szplug (new)

Szplug Great stuff, Matt. I don't know if this was new, or a floater from the recent Goodreads earthquake, but in either case you've touched upon much that has been coursing through my head as I slowly make my way through this masterpiece.

message 20: by Matt (new)

Matt Glad to hear it, thanks!

message 21: by Zackary Gillison (new)

Zackary Gillison great read indeed

message 22: by Conner (new)

Conner I was recently reading a piece by a neuroscientist about phantom limbs. In it he put a quote by Ahab ("And if I still feel the smart of my crushed leg, though it be now so long dissolved; then, why mayst not thou, carpenter, feel the fiery pains of hell forever?") and said it was remarkable that Melville was writing about phantom limbs before anyone really studied them. I found it to be a brilliant quote and it reminded me that I've been meaning to read Moby Dick for a long time. This great review convinced me I need to get around to that sooner rather than later :)

message 23: by Matt (new)

Matt Interesting! Thanks!

message 24: by Joshua (new)

Joshua I'm totally with you. The inconceivably early post-modern techniques, the Joycean under currents, the Shakespearean soliloquies, the dense imagery. You nailed it, it's all there.

message 25: by Carl (new)

Carl Terrific review. Only thing I will add is that the book includes a great critique of capitalism as well, handled with insight and great humor. Okay, I will add more--it is very funny, especially the opening scenes and the observations on religion. Not so funny at the end, though

message 26: by Matt (new)

Matt Totally agreed Carl, I think the anti-capitalist reading of Moby Dick is one you don't hear often enough

message 27: by Carl (new)

Carl Still one more thing I noticed this time--the detailed descriptions of the violence and barbarism of the whale hunt. Numerous passages from Moby Dick are so powerfully anti-whaling that I'm surprised Greenpeace doesn't use them. Melville is both impressed with the bravery of the whale hunters and appalled by the whale hunt itself. All of those "boring" chapters on the natural history of whales establish the dignity of the whale and, by extension, of all life. Nothing boring about any of them.

message 28: by Peter (new)

Peter I'm pretty sure I need a degree in English just to understand this review lol

message 29: by Jared (new)

Jared Excited. Already on my reading list for this year.

message 30: by Philip (new)

Philip Outstanding, Matt. Really, really well done. You put a lot of thought into this, and it shows.

In a sea of crappy one and two star reviews, yours is a breath of informal academic fresh air.


message 31: by David (new)

David Breitkopf Matt, not fer nuthin', the chowder chapter at the beginning, does have a women proprietress, who asks them if they want clam or cod, which I've always taken as a bit of sexual joke, considering how Ishmael reacts. But I may be reading too much into it. He ends up going for both, hmmm.

message 32: by Tattooed_mummy (last edited May 09, 2018 05:42AM) (new)

Tattooed_mummy (There are women though, Mrs Hussey who runs the boarding house, and she has a maid too, both feature in the scene where the door is locked. Also in other places. Also Charity though she mostly bustles silently filling the ship with pickles etc)

I'm only up to chapter 24 but loving the writing and the tale so far - you are right about the humour! Proper LOL stuff in places

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