Moby Dick Big Read: Chapters 1 and 2

So, there are two things that you need to know: the first is that The Moby Dick Big Read in which a chapter a day and a new piece of artwork inspired by the book will appear on this website (and in iTunes podcast section) has started. It started on the 16th of this month and it will run until the book is finished, some time in January I believe. The second thing you need to know is that when I do work that is extraordinarily tedious and of which I have a lot (this could anything from spinning to hand-checking something I have used a computer program to code for my dissertation to grading) I like to have something on in the background. It is usually something I’ve heard at least once before (because I won’t be paying attention to it) just as background noise or filler or as something my monkey mind can light on when I’m starting to space out.

I’ve been listening to these chapters as they’ve popped up this week. I’ve even started re-reading them after I’ve heard them. I’ve never read Moby Dick and I figured this isn’t a bad way to be introduced to what may be the Great American Novel (even if the “Great” here isn’t a value judgement but is instead an indicator of size. And, I figured if I was only half-listening it wouldn’t kill me to make the occasional note of something that catches my ear. So, these are some of the charming sentences in the first two chapters that sent me running for my copy of the book. (Any errors are totally my own as I may not be the best transcriber if my primary task was also a linguistic task.)

Chapter 1

Are the green fields gone?
…If your caravan happens to be supplied with a metaphysical doctor.
Surely all this is not without meaning.
Such a portentous(?) and mysterious monster…
one grand hooded phantom, like a snow hill in the air.

Chapter 2
Because there was a fine, boisterous something about everything connected with that famous old island, which amazingly pleased me.
With anxious grapnels I had sounded my pocket, and only brought up a few pieces of silver.
But it is too late to make any improvements now. The universe is finished.
Yet Dives himself, he too lives like a Czar in an ice palace made of frozen sighs, and being a president of a temperance society, he only drinks the tepid tears of orphans.

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