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Chapter 42: "a colourless, all-colour"

This is very interesting:

...is it, that as in essence whiteness is not so much a colour as the visible absence of colour; and at the same time the concrete of all colours; is it for these reasons that there is such a dumb blankness, full of meaning, in a wide landscape of snows--a colourless, all-colour of atheism from which we shrink?
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Chapter 45: Economy

This is timeless:

For God's sake, be economical with your lamps and candles! not a gallon you burn, but at least one drop of man's blood was spilled for it.
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Choisya
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Re: Chapter 42: "a colourless, all-colour"

Mmmmm....does this mean that atheism is colourless because it signifies nothingness whereas belief signifies colour? I will have to ponder that:smileyhappy:




pmath wrote:
This is very interesting:

...is it, that as in essence whiteness is not so much a colour as the visible absence of colour; and at the same time the concrete of all colours; is it for these reasons that there is such a dumb blankness, full of meaning, in a wide landscape of snows--a colourless, all-colour of atheism from which we shrink?



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Choisya
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Re: Chapter 45: Economy

Yes, and now it applies to pollution and global warming. I fitted some energy saving light bulbs only today so it is apt.




pmath wrote:
This is timeless:

For God's sake, be economical with your lamps and candles! not a gallon you burn, but at least one drop of man's blood was spilled for it.



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Chapter 42: Everything

Isn't HM saying it doesn't distinguish, but encompasses everything? (Why would this be frightening?)


Choisya wrote:
Mmmmm....does this mean that atheism is colourless because it signifies nothingness whereas belief signifies colour? I will have to ponder that:smileyhappy:

pmath wrote:
This is very interesting:

...is it, that as in essence whiteness is not so much a colour as the visible absence of colour; and at the same time the concrete of all colours; is it for these reasons that there is such a dumb blankness, full of meaning, in a wide landscape of snows--a colourless, all-colour of atheism from which we shrink?


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fanuzzir
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Re: Ishmael and Bildungsroman...



Choisya wrote:
I have been thinking about Bildungsroman in relation to North & South but I think it could also be applied to Ishmael - the growth and devlopment of a character within a defined social order, leading, via many vicissitudes, to maturity. What think you folks - is this novel, in addition to being many other things, a Bildungsroman?




fanuzzir wrote:
You draw great attention to Ishmael's stake in Ahab's quest. What is Ishmael's journey so far to everyone else?







Thanks for the frame of reference, Choisya. Yes, I would say that Ishmael is embarking on a rite of passage here, though what is fascinating about his "voyage" is that it gets more and more exotic, subterranean, quixotic all the time, courtesy of Ahab and his unholy minions. I don't know if Melville has lost the focus on the character he had in the opening sections or he wants to make a point about the futility of telling our own life stories in plain, psychological terms (we all need an Ahab's quest to call our own).
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Re: Pasteboard masks

I just wanted to say, your question was noted but answer's not yet forthcoming...one could spend a lifetime on this book. I just witnessed the shark massacre and I wonder what those guys are up to anyhow.

ziki
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fanuzzir
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Re: Pasteboard masks

It just gets more and more gruesome, more and more elemental, as Ishmael recedes from sight and the bloody business of whaling takes over. That's what makes Melville put in those philosophical digressions as separate chapters, I think; his character just doesn't fit into this intensely physical, amoral world.
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Chapter 53: English Whalers

[ Edited ]
Choisya, what do you think of this passage?

Nor would difference of country make any very essential difference; that is, so long as both parties speak one language, as is the case with Americans and English. Though, to be sure, from the small number of English whalers, such meetings do not very often occur, and when they do occur there is too apt to be a sort of shyness between them; for your Englishman is rather reserved, and your Yankee, he does not fancy that sort of thing in anybody but himself. Besides, the English whalers sometimes affect a kind of metropolitan superiority over the American whalers; regarding the long, lean Nantucketer, with his nondescript provincialisms, as a sort of sea-peasant. But where this superiority in the English whalemen does really consist, it would be hard to say, seeing that the Yankees in one day, collectively, kill more whales than all the English, collectively, in ten years. But this is a harmless little foible in the English whale-hunters, which the Nantucketer does not take much to heart; probably, because he knows that he has a few foibles himself.

Message Edited by pmath on 01-12-200709:25 AM

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Choisya
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Re: Pasteboard masks

When Melville embarked on a whaling ship at the age of 19 he did not know that he was entrapping himself in a gruesome, immoral world. No wonder he jumped ship! Perhaps as Melville was writing these chapters the 'gruesomeness' of what he had been involved in as a very young man overtook him and he found the character of Ishmael increasingly difficult to write about?




fanuzzir wrote:
It just gets more and more gruesome, more and more elemental, as Ishmael recedes from sight and the bloody business of whaling takes over. That's what makes Melville put in those philosophical digressions as separate chapters, I think; his character just doesn't fit into this intensely physical, amoral world.


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Re: Chapters 53: English Whalers

I don't know what the figures are about the number of whales caught respectively by the English and Americans Pmath, although we whaled in different waters - the North Sea and Arctic oceans so that would also account for the lack of meetings on the high seas. Brits are definitely more 'reserved' than the Americans, the more so in times gone by and I would imagine that our superiority, if that was the case, would have been due to the centuries of naval supremacy which the UK had in the world. The British navy is the oldest in the world (and still has the most tonnage) and ruled the seas at this time. This presumably was the reason behind the 'metropolitan superiority' of British seaman. When Melville wrote MD America had not reached the dizzy heights of power and wealth which it has today and the UK still ruled 25 per cent of the world so I guess that Brits did feel superior to these American upstarts, and most other nations too. The times they have a-changed:smileyhappy:




pmath wrote:
Choisya, what do you think of this passage?

Nor would difference of country make any very essential difference; that is, so long as both parties speak one language, as is the case with Americans and English. Though, to be sure, from the small number of English whalers, such meetings do not very often occur, and when they do occur there is too apt to be a sort of shyness between them; for your Englishman is rather reserved, and your Yankee, he does not fancy that sort of thing in anybody but himself. Besides, the English whalers sometimes affect a kind of metropolitan superiority over the American whalers; regarding the long, lean Nantucketer, with his nondescript provincialisms, as a sort of sea-peasant. But where this superiority in the English whalemen does really consist, it would be hard to say, seeing that the Yankees in one day, collectively, kill more whales than all the English, collectively, in ten years. But this is a harmless little foible in the English whale-hunters, which the Nantucketer does not take much to heart; probably, because he knows that he has a few foibles himself.



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Chapter 53: Empire

Thanks, Choisya: I often wonder to whom the next empire will belong, but perhaps there will be no more supremacy at some point.


Choisya wrote:
When Melville wrote MD America had not reached the dizzy heights of power and wealth which it has today and the UK still ruled 25 per cent of the world so I guess that Brits did feel superior to these American upstarts, and most other nations too. The times they have a-changed:smileyhappy:

pmath wrote:
Choisya, what do you think of this passage?

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Re: Chapters 28-54: cpt Ahab


ziki wrote:
To me it was disapointing to read about Ahab as he finally appeared on the planks.
To start with, by making him invisible and introducing Elijah, Melville swept Ahab into mystery but now when he needs to live up to that expectation, it is very meak and unconvincing.

The book looses focus. What happens with POV? How does Ishmael see Ahab in practice? When he's on watch? Is he on watch? Why doesn't Melville show the life on board instead?




I found the description of Ahab fascinating. First, his ivory leg could be seen to make him part whale:

"So powerfully did the whole grim aspect of Ahab affect me, and the livid brand which streaked it, that for the first few moments I hardly noted that not a little of this overbearing grimness was owing to the barbaric white leg upon which he partly stood. It had previously come to me that this ivory leg had at sea been fashioned from the polished bone of the sperm whale's jaw."

And the augur holes drilled into the deck seem to make him him part of the ship:

"I was struck with the singular posture he maintained. Upon each side of the Pequod's quarter deck, and pretty close to the mizen shrouds, there was an auger hole, bored about half an inch or so, into the plank. His bone leg steadied in that hole; one arm elevated, and holding by a shroud; Captain Ahab stood erect, looking straight out beyond the ship's ever-pitching prow. There was an infinity of firmest fortitude, a determinate unsurrenderable wilfulness, in the fixed and fearless, forward dedication of that glance."

Overall, the image I take from Melville's description of Ahab is that of an Old Testament prophet.
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Re: Ishmael and Bildungsroman...



fanuzzir wrote: I don't know if Melville has lost the focus on the character he had in the opening sections or he wants to make a point about the futility of telling our own life stories in plain, psychological terms (we all need an Ahab's quest to call our own).




Whoa....I think...that if he could write the first chapters (and than he did that elegant 'parody' on Shakespeare) he would manage to write a whole book in that style.....but perhaps that is not what he wanted, perhaps he is trying to accomplish something else here.
Reading this book takes a lot of thinking in all directions.

ziki
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Re: Ishmael and Bildungsroman...

Choisya wrote:
I have been thinking about Bildungsroman in relation to North & South but I think it could also be applied to Ishmael - the growth and devlopment of a character within a defined social order, leading, via many vicissitudes, to maturity. What think you folks - is this novel, in addition to being many other things, a Bildungsroman?

def. a bildungsroman:
"novel of education" or "novel of formation" is a novel which traces the spiritual, moral, psychological, or social development and growth of the main character from (usually) childhood to maturity.

---That wouldn't really fit Ishmael, would it? Not as I can see from the middle of the book perspective.----We know nothing about his childhood and he is grown up when he ships.

z.
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Re: Chapter 53: Empire



pmath wrote:
Thanks, Choisya: I often wonder to whom the next empire will belong, but perhaps there will be no more supremacy at some point.




That would be nice...

but there are aspirants for that position...just think what can happen with/in China or muslims, different scenarios...

z.
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Choisya
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Re: Ishmael and Bildungsroman...

It doesn't necessarily have to be from childhood ziki and is often described as a young man's 'apprenticeship' because the term stems from the contemporary description of 'Goethe's Wilhelm Maister's Apprenticehip. This little extract from the web may help:-

'More than any other type of novel, the Bildungsroman intends to lead the reader to greater personal enrichment as the protagonist journeys from youth to psychological or emotional maturity. Traditionally, this growth occurs according to a pattern: the sensitive, intelligent protagonist leaves home, undergoes stages of conflict and growth, is tested by crises and love affairs, then finally finds the best place to use his/her unique talents. Sometimes the protagonist returns home to show how well things turned out. Some bildungsromane end with the death of the hero, leaving the promise of his life unfulfilled. Traditionally, English novelists complicate the protagonist’s battle to establish an individual identity with conflicts from outside the self. German novelists typically concentrate on the internal struggle of the hero. The protagonist’s adventures can be seen as a quest for the meaning of life or as a vehicle for the author’s social and moral opinions as demonstrated through the protagonist.'

I think Ishmael's fulfils most of these criteria.





ziki wrote:
Choisya wrote:
I have been thinking about Bildungsroman in relation to North & South but I think it could also be applied to Ishmael - the growth and devlopment of a character within a defined social order, leading, via many vicissitudes, to maturity. What think you folks - is this novel, in addition to being many other things, a Bildungsroman?

def. a bildungsroman:
"novel of education" or "novel of formation" is a novel which traces the spiritual, moral, psychological, or social development and growth of the main character from (usually) childhood to maturity.

---That wouldn't really fit Ishmael, would it? Not as I can see from the middle of the book perspective.----We know nothing about his childhood and he is grown up when he ships.

z.


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Choisya
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Re: Chapter 53: Empire - 'Chindia'

The rise of 'Chindia' is now being speculated about which is interesting because one is an autocracy and the other a democracy - which kind of government will our great-grandchildren prefer and which religion or none? I don't think Muslims are 'together' enough to pose a threat to these two giants. The largest Muslim nation is Indonesia and they are far from establishing an economic power base. Whilst half the workforce of Muslim nations, that is women, are not employed, they will not IMO achieve the economic power of the West nor of the Eastern countries whose women play a large part in the economy. It was the employment of women during both world wars which gave a boost to Western economies and helped us to achieve and hold our prominence in world affairs. Vive la Femme!




ziki wrote:


pmath wrote:
Thanks, Choisya: I often wonder to whom the next empire will belong, but perhaps there will be no more supremacy at some point.




That would be nice...

but there are aspirants for that position...just think what can happen with/in China or muslims, different scenarios...

z.


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fanuzzir
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Re: Chapters 53: English Whalers

Where did England get the energy for the world's first industrial economy? I think the reason that there were less English whalers than American is that England had a coal industry.



Choisya wrote:
I don't know what the figures are about the number of whales caught respectively by the English and Americans Pmath, although we whaled in different waters - the North Sea and Arctic oceans so that would also account for the lack of meetings on the high seas. Brits are definitely more 'reserved' than the Americans, the more so in times gone by and I would imagine that our superiority, if that was the case, would have been due to the centuries of naval supremacy which the UK had in the world. The British navy is the oldest in the world (and still has the most tonnage) and ruled the seas at this time. This presumably was the reason behind the 'metropolitan superiority' of British seaman. When Melville wrote MD America had not reached the dizzy heights of power and wealth which it has today and the UK still ruled 25 per cent of the world so I guess that Brits did feel superior to these American upstarts, and most other nations too. The times they have a-changed:smileyhappy:




pmath wrote:
Choisya, what do you think of this passage?

Nor would difference of country make any very essential difference; that is, so long as both parties speak one language, as is the case with Americans and English. Though, to be sure, from the small number of English whalers, such meetings do not very often occur, and when they do occur there is too apt to be a sort of shyness between them; for your Englishman is rather reserved, and your Yankee, he does not fancy that sort of thing in anybody but himself. Besides, the English whalers sometimes affect a kind of metropolitan superiority over the American whalers; regarding the long, lean Nantucketer, with his nondescript provincialisms, as a sort of sea-peasant. But where this superiority in the English whalemen does really consist, it would be hard to say, seeing that the Yankees in one day, collectively, kill more whales than all the English, collectively, in ten years. But this is a harmless little foible in the English whale-hunters, which the Nantucketer does not take much to heart; probably, because he knows that he has a few foibles himself.






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fanuzzir
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Re: Ishmael and Bildungsroman...



ziki wrote:


fanuzzir wrote: I don't know if Melville has lost the focus on the character he had in the opening sections or he wants to make a point about the futility of telling our own life stories in plain, psychological terms (we all need an Ahab's quest to call our own).




Whoa....I think...that if he could write the first chapters (and than he did that elegant 'parody' on Shakespeare) he would manage to write a whole book in that style.....but perhaps that is not what he wanted, perhaps he is trying to accomplish something else here.
Reading this book takes a lot of thinking in all directions.

ziki




Yes, Melville definitely want to take our focus off Ishmael and the coming of age tale. He already took it off the social satire; he even experiments with Shakespearean form and diction, as you say. It's a true pastiche that truly fits its subject matter. Any idea why?
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