The New Bedford Whaling Museum's Moby-Dick Marathon is an annual non-stop reading of Herman Melville's literary masterpiece. The multi-day program of entertaining activities and events is presented every January. Admission to the Marathon is free.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

...when Leviathan is the text - 14

... pissed on out of hand ... (14th in the search for the ideal edition for an MDM)

I was anticipating the June 7 release of this new edition of Moby-Dick since I got wind of it several months ago. Thanks to Amazon's "Look Inside!" feature, there's no need to wait for it to arrive in my bookstore or library—it can be assessed, and disqualified, virtually!

This is the Harper Perennial Classics paperback edition; scarlet cover with white lettering and white whale in profile (ISBN 0062085646). Let's "Look Inside!"

A quick glance at the copyright page. No mention of Northwestern-Newberry. No mention of acid-free paper. Antennae twitching.

On to Contents. No Etymology, no Extracts! At least Chapter 25 is there as is "Postscript," but what's the deal with Chapter 40? Each character's bit in the "stage play" is listed, with page number.

We can use "Search Inside This Book" to scout out telltale passages that were corrected in the Northwestern-Newberry text. Enter "one hundred pounds of clay" and hit Return. One result. Amazon wants you to log in to view search results, but if you hover over the greyed-out text, the passage will pop up:  
One hundred pounds of clay reward for Pip ...
Sorry, Harpers, that ain't N-N. Let's check another one. Search for "his partner"—the second result is also an error that was fixed by N-N:
"Quick, Bildad," said Peleg, his partner ... 
Again, I have to ask: are the licensing fees on the Northwestern-Newberry text so onerous that publishers would rather proffer a flawed product? Get thee behind me, Harpers.

By the way, a quick search on the 2007 Random House UK "Vintage Classics" edition shows a similar failing. This Amazon tool really is useful (for deciding what not to buy).

At this point, you may be thinking, "Crikey, Gans! Will you never be satisfied?" Well, hang in there dear readers (both of you), I believe the object of this quest is on the horizon...

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