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.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The gam that changed literature - July 23, 1841?

In all Melville's life he is not known to have so intricately tangled up so much misapprehension and misinformation as he did about Owen Chase.
                                               - Hershel Parker, Melville, v.1, p. 197
The details of Melville's acquisition of a copy of Owen Chase's Narrative, and the confused notes he made in it are worth reading. The story involves Judge Shaw's connections in Nantucket, a whale-man mistaken for Owen Chase, and the "surprising effect" the Narrative had on young Herman, about to turn 22 years old and hunting whales in the same ocean where the Essex was sunk by a vengeful sperm whale. See Parker's Melville, pp. 196-199 and Parker's notes on Melville's notes in the Norton Critical Edition of M-D, 2nd ed., p. 571.
On 23 July 1841 the Lima of Nantucket gammed with the Acushnet... ...this may have been the occasion when he [Melville] met a son of the famous Owen Chase, and first held a copy of Chase's Narrative.
                                               - Hershel Parker, Melville, v.1, p. 196
So, one hundred seventy-one years ago today may have been Melville's first reading of Chase's horrific encounter with a sperm whale.  Ten years later, the fruit of that seed was ripe.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Events to Note @ Arrowhead

Herman Melville's Arrowhead, The Berkshires, MA
If you can make it to Arrowhead this summer, here are two events to catch (part of the Call Me Melville celebrations).

On July 29, at 11 A.M., Dr. Wyn Kelley (noted Melvillian and M.I.T. professor) will read and discuss The Piazza Tales, on the "piazza" of the title. (Bring bug spray.) Dr. Kelley is sure to deepen your appreciation of these stories.

On August 25, Bill Petit (of The Moby Dick Collection) will be at Arrowhead to discuss and paint(!). At 10 A.M. he'll be painting scenes around the property. At 2 P.M. he will be in the barn to talk about his impressive collection, 200 volumes and growing.

Addendum, 7/18/12: If you have a couple of days to spare, make your stop at Arrowhead part of a Melville tour. This 1986 article in the NY Times highlights some nearby points of interest.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Halfway to MDM17

At midnight tonight we'll be midway between MDMs—halfway to the next Moby-Dick Marathon, MDM17. (That is, if we assume MDM17 will follow the museum's recent pattern of launching the Marathon on the first weekend after New Year's Day.)

Clear the decks and mark your calendar.

Heed the advice of this post—take Monday (1/7/13) off and book a room for the night of the close of the Marathon (1/6/13).  New Bedford and neighboring Fairhaven have a number of hotels and B&Bs. The fine Fairfield Inn & Suites is a three-block walk from the Whaling Museum. You'll spot some luminaries of Melville studies at breakfast there.

Lemuel and I will keep an eye on the Whaling Museum's website for definitive schedule info.