Chasing the White Whale
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Chasing the White Whale : The Moby-Dick Marathon; or, What Melville Means Today

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Description

Using the twenty-five hour nonstop reading of Moby-Dick that took place on January 3, 2009 as a barometer of how Melville lives today among his most passionate and enthusiastic disciples, this examines how it has developed such an ardent following and ubiquitous presence in popular culture within our technology-obsessed, quick-fix contemporary world.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 270 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.06 x 17.78mm | 362.87g
  • University of Iowa Press
  • Iowa, United States
  • English
  • 1587299062
  • 9781587299063

Review quote

David Dowling s book, a thoughtful blend of reportage, cultural observation, and literary reflection, engages at length with Melville s "Moby-Dick" and some of its most dedicated fans: the eager hordes who descend on New Bedford, Massachusetts, each January for the Moby-Dick Marathon. Recognizing in this annual ritual the signs of democracy in vigorous action, drawing on emotions ranging from the playful to the sublime, responding to the power of a diverse and enthusiastic reading community, Dowling opens up the connections between Melville s quest and those of his readers as he ranges widely through the text. This book makes "Moby-Dick" accessible to all by demonstrating its continuing and increasing relevance in twenty-first-century global culture. Wyn Kelley, " "associate editor, "Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies," and author, "An Introduction to Herman Melville, " "Melville's City: Literary and Urban Form in Nineteenth-Century New York," " "and "A Companion to Herman Melville" David Dowling s "Chasing the White Whale "shares many qualities with the creature named in its title. It is a book that dives down into "Moby-Dick" s inscrutable depths and there conducts its rigorous thinking in and of an essential text. What enables Dowling s academic scrutiny to achieve such richness is his willingness to breach the surface of scholarly limit and jump full-bodied into the midst of the devoted general readers who travel to New Bedford to attend, for 25 hours, to the novel they love. Dowling is no embedded journalist, no mere objective observer; he is a participant, a marathoner, subject to whimsy and weariness, to inspiration and exhaustion. And like Ishmael, Dowling imbues his critical thinking with human warmth, his reasoning with humor, giving us a book not only composed within Melville s own true method of careful disorder, but also one that manages to show how this nineteenth-century masterpiece has its hawsers fastened firmly to our own, how its old issues politics, environment, economics, race relations, class structure, and culture are our new issues. Dan Beachy-Quick, author, "A Whaler s Dictionary" "David Dowling's "Chasing the White Whale "shares many qualities with the creature named in its title. It is a book that dives down into "Moby-Dick"'s inscrutable depths and there conducts its rigorous thinking in and of an essential text. What enables Dowling's academic scrutiny to achieve such richness is his willingness to breach the surface of scholarly limit and jump full-bodied into the midst of the devoted general readers who travel to New Bedford to attend, for 25 hours, to the novel they love. Dowling is no embedded journalist, no mere objective observer; he is a participant, a marathoner, subject to whimsy and weariness, to inspiration and exhaustion. And like Ishmael, Dowling imbues his critical thinking with human warmth, his reasoning with humor, giving us a book not only composed within Melville's own true method of 'careful disorder, ' but also one that manages to show how this nineteenth-century masterpiece has its hawsers fastened firmly to our own, how its 'old' is "David Dowling's book, a thoughtful blend of reportage, cultural observation, and literary reflection, engages at length with Melville's "Moby-Dick" and some of its most dedicated fans: the eager hordes who descend on New Bedford, Massachusetts, each January for the Moby-Dick Marathon. Recognizing in this annual ritual the signs of democracy in vigorous action, drawing on emotions ranging from the playful to the sublime, responding to the power of a diverse and enthusiastic reading community, Dowling opens up the connections between Melville's quest and those of his readers as he ranges widely through the text. This book makes "Moby-Dick" accessible to all by demonstrating its continuing and increasing relevance in twenty-first-century global culture."--Wyn Kelley, ""associate editor, "Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies," and author, "An Introduction to Herman Melville, ""Melville's City: Literary and Urban Form in Nineteenth-Century New York," ""and "A Companion to Herman Melshow more

About David Dowling

David Dowling is a lecturer of English at the University of Iowa. He is the author of "Capital Letters: Authorship in the Antebellum Literary Market" (Iowa, 2008) and numerous articles on nineteenth-century literature and culture.show more

Rating details

7 ratings
3.42 out of 5 stars
5 14% (1)
4 14% (1)
3 71% (5)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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