Wednesday, June 13, 2007

19th Century Weapon Found in Whale

Kudos to my betrothed for finding this perfect coda to my completion of the delectable Moby-Dick. It's a wonderful, short article:

19th-century weapon found in whale

Note that the weapon in question was manufactured in New Bedford, where Moby-Dick begins! How enchanting is that?

The weapon in the story dates to roughly 40 years after Melville's book (and the apex of whaling ships -- after the 1850s, the kerosene lamp put a permanent leak the demand for whale oil). However, think on this: the whale in this story was without doubt a contemporary of Melville, and might even have passed the author's ship on some silvery maritime midnight. (It would not have been hunted by the Pequod, as that ship's crew turned their noses up at all but the gold-standard sperm whale quarry).

I flatter myself that, if Melville were reading, he would comment with something to this effect: "O, deep, blubberous burial ground of harpoonish totems! Would but I had been buried there with you, in the heavenish flank of a worthy Leviathan, there to float past my mortal limits, and later to start the very eyes from the sockets of posterity!"


Muffy St. Bernard said...

Your Moby Dick addendum would not be complete without a thorough comparison of the intestines of all Folio whales, followed by the impact of Ambergris on colonial societies, speculation about whale diet drawn from references in medieval religious texts, and a gloss of Captain Ahab's "swallowed by a beast and what I found inside downe thar" nightmares.

Baleem, baleem!

thinkulous said...


I really enjoyed both your comments -- sorry for missing the one about the holes in the plot. Yes, they're niggles but they show one thing: You're reading a lot more closely than I did! Impressive, all!

As to this comment: Hilarious! Your index is again impressive, and I assume you're appending here my *previous* posts on MD in which I catalog the various worlds that Melville crammed into one book. And spoof him a bit with five alternative plot summaries. And comment at length upon the length of the book... and so on. (Feel free to use the search field at the top of the blog page and enter "Moby Dick"; I wrote lots of posts.) Reading that book can certainly inspire a lot of thinking!

Read on!