Saturday, August 24, 2013

"The Nantucketer, he alone resides and rests on the sea."

For years he knows not the land; so that when he comes to it at last, it smells like another world, more strangely than the moon would to an Earthsman. With the landless gull, that at sunset folds her wings and is rocked to sleep between billows; so at nightfall, the Nantucketer, out of sight of land, furls his sails, and lays him to his rest, while under his very pillow rush herds of walruses and whales.

I'm listening to and loving Recorded Books' production of Moby-Dick, narrated by Frank Muller. It's over 21 hours long! I tune in and out as I'm listening, perhaps starting back to attention to find that it's been fifteen minutes and Ishmael is STILL listing white things (!!!) (see "Chapter 42: The Whiteness of the Whale"), tuning out again, then sitting straight upright as Melville says something so beautiful I could die. I read this book in college, I wrote a paper about it. What a pleasure to enjoy it for itself and be allowed to space out when I want to. :)

I'm also referring occasionally to The Arion Press's 1979 printed edition designed by Andrew Hoyem, with (wonderful! and helpful) illustrations by Barry Moser. This is an expensive edition; check your library.