Saturday, November 14, 2009

Happy Birthday to Moby Dick!

I can't offer you the zombie version of it for this anniversary, but maybe next!


Blogger Norm said...

I just stumbled into your site--have been teaching Moby Dick to my English classes for 26 years now. Given your training in the study of religions, I'm interested in your take on the role of the Bible in the novel. I'm a fan of Joseph Campbell and am familiar with the "belly of the whale" archetype, but are there other religious motifs/themes you can point to that would help me with me students? This is one area where I'm a little (okay a lot) shaky!

11:33 PM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

Thanks! I highly recommend "Melville's Bibles" by Ilana Pardes -

Incredible scholarly work, but I think you'll find a lot of useful and accessible ideas there. One chapter in my book "In Praise of Wisdom" was on Moby, and I'd stand by my analysis that there is something strangely hopeful (and Biblical) in the ending. Melville alludes to Ecclesiastes, and I think that gets at what he's talking about : the book (and universe) are ultimately about wonder and awe, as much as they're about fright and consternation. Along the way, Queequeg as Christ figure (and Ahab as diseased White man), and even Moby as Christ figure (all those spears stuck in him/her!) also make a lot of sense. It is a wicked book!

12:49 AM  

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