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Read Moby-Dick; Or, The Whale (2002)

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (2002)

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3.42 of 5 Votes: 5
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0142437247 (ISBN13: 9780142437247)
penguin classics

Moby-Dick; Or, The Whale (2002) - Plot & Excerpts

In 1819 in Manhattan, a strange trial was commencing. A merchant of that great city had been found in possession of barrels of spermacetti, the fine-quality oil which may be obtained from the head of the Sperm Whale. When an inspector demanded he pay the proper taxes on his goods, the merchant, who apparently made a hobby of science, declared that he had no fish product in his possession, and so the tax did not apply. He was duly arrested and, contending the charges, a trial was begun to determine, once-and-for-all, if whales were indeed, fish.This was becoming an increasingly important question in the wake of Linneaus' great work and the recent codification by numerous biologists of the many families in which plants and animals numbered their descent, which would soon culminate in the great discovery of Darwin. Is it possible there was some familial connection between whales and dogs? Or more troublingly, between these alien monsters of the deep and humans? It was important to determine an answer, but it is singularly strange that the venue chosen to answer this question was not the halls of academia, or even the wild world of the working naturalist, but a courthouse, with judge, lawyers, and jury arguing the question.Certainly, numerous scientists were brought in to testify, and so were experienced whale-hunters, who tended to give contradicting accounts. As D. Graham Burnett puts it, in his book on the trial, Trying Leviathan, these were men with 'lay expertise'--they dealt everyday with the subject at hand, but had no grasp of the history or theory behind it. One might point to the difference between the man who drives a car every day to work, and the man who knows how a car is built.So it is somewhat strange that, thirty-two years later, Moby Dick seems to show us relatively little progress on this question. Melville first declares that whales are definitely fish (though he does not discount their mammalian structures), laments the many futile attempts to depict them accurately, and then embarks on an attempt to classify members of the species which is hardly scientific.His approach was not a modern, thoroughly-researched analysis of the subject as it stood, but a conceptual exploration, and in the end, a flawed one, a failed experiment, and not the only one in Melville's great work.There are mistaken details, dropped plotlines and characters, vast shifts in style and tone, changes in point-of-view, as if several different sorts of book were combined together. This is not a classic lauded for its narrow, precise perfection, but for its wide-reaching, seemingly-fearless leaps into waters both varied and deep.Reading Melville's letters, it is clear he knew his experiment was not an entire success, but he pressed on boldly despite his doubts, refusing to write anything less grand just because he feared it might, in some parts, fail. It is a difficult thing for an author not to give in and write something smaller and safer, something certain. It is Achilles' choice: to live a small and easy life, which will be long and passing pleasant, or to strike at the skies, to die in the flame of youth, and become a song. Like Ahab, Melville attempts something grand, dangerous, and unknown.'Like Ahab'.It is a phrase we hear, which we understand, something pervasive. There are a number of reasons that Melville's great work, ignored and sneered at in his lifetime, is now preeminent. For all the flaws of his book, it is still full of remarkable successes.It begins with several strange, ominous notes, like a Beethoven symphony, calling us to attention, with the mystic and dark theology of "There stand his trees, each with a hollow trunk, as if a hermit and a crucifix were within". But then it strikes away--there are still some dark shadows which flit across the scene, but for the most part, we are following Ishmael, in all of his funny, bumbling, pretentious, self-deprecating little adventures. It is, at the first, fundamentally a Sea Story in the old tradition, and we should not forget that it is a grand Romance, not serious-minded realism.One thing I was not prepared for was this book's often subtle and sometimes uproarious humor. Sadly, that part seems to be missing from its great reputation. As a Romance, it is not precisely concerned with developing holistic character psychology, it is enough to have types and archetypes, though they are often twisted. The individual pieces on the board act less like individuals and more like different aspects of one mind, the central mind of the book itself, of which each character forms a small part.So if relationships are sometimes rushed, or lapse, or are unfinished, those may be flaws in pacing, but each relationship is building together, contributing to the vision Melville gives us of his little world, so they are hardly pointless elements. It is more that Melville takes shortcuts here and there to tell the central story, for as he himself points out, to tell the whole story of Moby Dick is more than any one author could do.Much has been made of the vast symbology of the book, probably too much. It is not an allegory, there is no one thing that the whale stands for, or Ahab, or the ship. They are all parts of a story, and while we may understand them by thinking about evil, or good, or fate, or faith, to try to boil them down to some simple meaning is to miss the point, and to turn a great story into nothing more than a fable. It is a mistake to go in asking 'what does this represent', it does the book a disservice. Asking this question is not necessary for us to understand the work.Melville's bleak vision captured the imagination of the emerging post-modern thinkers who had seen the world wars tear apart concepts and assumptions which been long unchangeable and taken for granted. But it is not that this is a dark, hopeless book, but rather that it is a book which lacks simple, familiar answers. It does not wallow in the notion of hopelessness, but rather seems troubled by the fact that hope seems so often leads us to an inescapably hopeless place.In the thirties and forties, this book became a sort of 'test' for intellectuals. It gives no easy answers, yet it displays a wide array of ideas, conclusions, conflicts, and worldviews. So when one literary critic asked another what he thought of Moby Dick, he was asking what he was able to create from this basic toolset of ideas which had no simple, right answer. Unfortunately, this open-endedness has given the book an undeserved reputation of being inaccessible and requiring some vast store of knowledge in order to 'get' it. It is fundamentally a story about characters, and the only thing required to get it is to be a human being with an interest in other human beings. In fact, at one point, Melville makes a parody of the idea of the text which is full of allusions that only experts will understand, with the tale of 'Darmonodes and the elephant', which is not actually a real reference to anything, but was made up by Melville to tease those who are obsessed with dissecting every allusion.Certainly, it does slow down around the middle, when we start getting various explanations about the history and methods of whaling, but the book is not a series of dry explanations, these are the collected stories and ideas of men. Though Melville, himself, only worked as a whaler for less than two years, he researched and compiled many different accounts to create his book. And these explorations of whaling, like the characters, all contribute to our understanding, they build meaning and help to color certain words and actions.There are some terms which Melville likes to re-use throughout, and some of these seem to be stylistic oversights, but his repeated use of the term 'monomania' (monomaniacal, monomaniac) is a reference to a specific psychological condition, which is how Melville intends it to be taken, instead of as a simple description, so I don't count this as a 'favored word' of the author's but an example of specific use of a term.Another of his experiments is to play around with the voice of the book, which starts as a first-person narrative by Ishmael, but also includes Shakespearean soliloquies and choral scenes (complete with stage directions) and a number of scenes which it seems impossible for Ishmael to have witnessed. As with most of the book, these are not obscure, nor do they make the action difficult to follow, they are just more example of Melville's playful experimentation.Indeed, there is much of Shakespeare here, from the speeches of personal intent to the broad humor, the crew's sing-song banter, the melodramatic, grandiose characters, the occasional half-hidden sex joke, and the references to Biblical and Greek myth. But being a modern author, Melville's writing is easier to comprehend, particularly because much of his styling and pacing has passed into the modern form of books, movies, and television.There are also some particularly beautiful passages where the prose begins to resemble poetry, and between the grotesque, funny characters and the thoughtful, careful writing in some scenes, I began to compare the work to The Gormenghast Novels, though while Peake maintains this style throughout, Melville often switches back and forth between styles and tones.So, with all his mad switching about, his vast restlessness, Melville reveals that his own is more of a 'polymania'--an obsession with varying things--and while this does mean that his work has many errors, many experiments which didn't quite pan out, it also means that the book as a whole is completely full of remarkable, wonderful, funny, poignant, charming, exciting, thought-provoking, philosophical, historical, and scientific notions, so that even taking the flaws into account, there is just such a wealth of value in this book, so much to take away from it. And yet, don't worry about taking everything away--that's a fool's errand--Melville did his best to write what he could, trying not to worry about whether it was all perfect, so the least we can do is to be bold enough to read it as it is, and take what we can from it, without worrying whether we've gotten all of it.Walk the beach, and do not worry about picking up every stone you see, but take a handful that please you and know that it was worth your while.

Fuck me with a mincing knife such that I shit banana splits, but is this the most lushly, gorgeously written sea-skein of supernal and scotopic skaldic skill ever set to run before the trade winds for a voyage of six hundred and twenty-five pearlescent pages? Could aught be a more ariose attar of tars in cetological skin, a testimonial to the Old Testament wherein the primal and subcutaneous have pride of place and the canvas of the watery sprawl infinitely spread about the buffeted body shivers the soul unto a pastiche derived from the plasmic furnaces and vermicular warrens of chasms in origin oceanic and earthly; obsessive and repulsive; solar and abyssal?Melville's great fluke has swept me from my perch amidships and cast me headlong unto a raging sea, what tempestuous, roiling vestments must carry me leagues afar ere a calm be found where I might gather my thoughts and bob in contemplation of both the evermore and nevermore, oblong and overwrought, whilst I await the succor of sails upon the horizon and curse Fedallah, that wizened Parsee flame vizier!Some thoughts (of which a few, particularly towards the end, contain minor spoilage):i: Best introductory sentence ever.ii: Best introductory bromance established ever.iii: Chapters like XXXVII: Sunset and XCIII: The Castaway, though brief, build to such a crescendo of sustained and impassioned exhortation that it asphyxiates mentally and physically—I'd actually found myself not breathing for the final stretch—while, in interior quarters, I damn well saw poniard-finned and sail-fluked starbursts and fainted dead away.iv: For all of Melville's rich and baroque timber to his words, his passionate embrace of the tale, each snippet panel of life is somberly interpreted and summarized, the banes and limits and dread tidal undertows of life assembled as a motte-and-bailey edifice against becoming carried away, whatever the desire attached to such vigorous enterprise. It's a rawboned force Man is up against, and he'd do well to heed the cautionary, well-lived words of the author, though the latter would not fain to rail against the living of life to the fullest—rather, that one must understand it's a thorny hedgerow to be traversed in breathed ways, under desert sun and polar stars, with many ghosts and chimeras set to whisper and cry and generally taunt one with cobwebbed doubloons cast upon the path; and tangled roots upthrust from ink-bound deeps to trip and lame one's progress.v: Moby Dick is brimming throughout with humor sourced from the full complement of its founts—even when the events of a chapter's active spread are collated and pressed, via the somber rollers of Melville's weighty voice, unto a brew of bitters speaking to eye-agonies of starlight wherein gravity triumphs, that mirthful spirit—sardonic brow arched, comical ears perked, ironic ocular twinkled, jocular lips awry—retains its presence; a cetological oil spilled upon the briny and benighted waters of tide-flowed life, refusing to be subsumed within the whelm of its pathos and pain, its peril and phantasms, portents and While his prophetic voice is timbered of the Platonic, his prognosticative agency blows from empirical quarters—and his sussing of how things would turn in the modern spin is remarkably acute and well-assessed. Even his calculation of the unlikelihood of the Leviathan being hunted unto evaporation from the boundless watery steppes, though erroneous in the end, struck much nearer to the truth than the pessimistic warnings cast about by his contemporary forecasters. There's little in the way of conventional discourse and relation, between Men together, or set opposite Nature and its incorporeal elements, that Melville failed to espy and set down, in glorious fictive exposition, at some point of unfolding within this wondrous book. Outstanding stuff.vii: Notwithstanding that the author delineates the conjoined operations of a whaling expedition to the most minute detail, as well as digresses, upon whatever subject falls either to hand or his mind, at will and at length; that some characters, immediately upon attaining a favored placement within the pantheon of the reader's estimation, are banished from the narrative flow for an hundred pages or more; that this voice is as apt to launch, in the space of a salty blink, upon speculations of a philosophic, pedagogic, scientific, prophetic, or didactic nature; I was never bored for the space of a second, did not skim one single sentence. As in the best such novels, Melville is concerned with more than the simple telling of an episodic story, progressed in temporal proportionality—he is trying to stretch his authorial hands around, and grasp sufficient to set forth with substantiality, as much of the whole what comprises our existential essence—assemble, in theatrical form, the greater part of the pageant in which we shall be assigned a role—as is humanly possible: and to strain his reach unto the most ineffable, but spiritually enveloping and materially affecting, of all that will stamp itself upon our performance. Much as John Ralston Saul remarked upon the difference between the early form of the novel, in which the author—having garnered a wide experience from trying his hand to many tasks in life—set about informing the public of this myriad, to relate to them all of its collective variety, through the creative tale; as against its modern evolution, in which a solipsistic interiority speaks to one mind's awareness of its existential environs divided between body and spirit, and efforts, at times, to convey that tunneled-vision to the degree it might become universal; so Melville is a transitional performer herein—accomplishing a bounty of the former, while yet garnering sufficient of the latter that the whole becomes a rich melding of styles current at that time and barely gestating in future form. A man for all seasons, then, with a similarly emplaced story to tell...viii: Death prevails throughout, and encapsulates the end. The first thing that struck me about Melville's style was how much it reminded me of Thomas Carlyle, with Emersonian flavoring—but there's also a direct link between Moby Dick and, say, Blood Meridian, particularly in the depiction of life as a hard and furious and magnetic interlude between the darkness eternal, and of how fates conspire, tragic flaws conflate, inexorable nature confound our efforts to stave off that irremediable end; indeed, hasten its reclamation because we are all—by dint of our awareness of its surceased claim—rendered mad in some way; not the least in that we shed so much blood on our own. Ahab's monomania is merely the most metastasized, in that his rage has warped him to try and make himself one with fate, a divine force of his own—he's a fascinating contrast with the similarly-maimed Captain Boomer, whose limb loss forged him in opposition to Ahab; or the captain of the Bachelor, a ship well-named in that none of its human crew are wed to aught but the pursuit of oil and profit (no White Whale as lethal bride for them—indeed, they believe that latter but a myth to detract from the true game at hand), and that their ship has voyaged immersed within merriment and joy, without any trace of the grim fanaticism that drives the Pequod forth under a permanent storm cloud; Puritans and fanatics are a force to keep the gravedigger well-employed in this world—though the White Whale shows how man's killing pursuit of Leviathan is just a microcosm, a mirror-play, of our own hunting by a world that lays all lifeforms low, and in which God is but a name we impose, with varying personal feeling and projected emotion and delusional imagining and despaired pleading, upon such a raw, unharnessed force that eludes our understanding and deceives us with a pride ere positioning the pair to be humbled. Somewhere (I can't precisely recall) I came across a reviewer discussing Moby Dick as a Gnostic work, which strikes me as a potent interpretation, though it requires an alien god whose light resides beyond our universe, and Melville proves himself quite able at snuffing out whatever hints of illumination send soulful beams from the music of the spheres.ix: The narrative arc is truly fascinating, in that the tale begins from the solid observational perspective of Ishmael, a flesh-and-blood figure whose thoughts and relations, as he positions himself for cetaceous adventure, are of his immediate awareness—and then slowly progresses such that he abstracts himself while the figure of Ahab emerges as the magnetic focal point, of whose solo thoughts and room-shuttered soliloquies Ishmael would fain need have conjured out of thin air. The charismatic presence of this rage-fueled, iron-willed man—a skipper become absolute tyrant over the superstition-veined decency of Starbuck, the laugh-addled ineffectuality of Stubb, and the common-man ductility of Flask, let alone the pagan otherness of the swarthy harpooner triad—seems of a seaborne Napoleonic type who imperil their dominated collective, whatever system they maneuvered through to attain their preeminence. There are many futilities and fatalities and frailties that Melville delineated through the course of the book, and of which the narrator's curiosity-driven, malleable-formed openness to new experience and being expanded by life—rather than consumed in its ravenous operation, and during which obsessions ever emerge, full-formed, to burn the fuel faster and truer—was the only one that, fortune-kissed, proved able to survive the climactic tempest. I loved how Melville ejected Ishmael from Ahab's doomed boat as a nameless oarsmen set adrift, a nondescript figure seemingly served up as a bobbing meal for the encircling sharks—and it is only once the seas have calmed, and the tragedy been fully laid-bare, that this cipher, in a succinct italicized voice, reclaims the name of Ishmael with which he more forcefully and assuredly greeted the reader in what seemed a lifetime past. A rather ghostly whisper set to close the book upon Ahab's inflationary, captivating madness.

What do You think about Moby-Dick; Or, The Whale (2002)?

"Novelist" is too small a term for Melville--he's some kind of shaggy Norse bard, writing rhapsodic yet precise, musuclar yet dulcet Elizabethan-tinged English at the midcentury high noon of "realism." For the time and place, the book and the man are uniquely American products, such as only America's social fluidity, untamed confusion of forms and sheer what-the-fuck randomness could produce: a sketchily educated scion of a declined old family goes to sea as a common sailor, comes back, immerses himself autodidactically in Shakespeare and Browne and the Bible, and produces this awesome stew of sermons, whaling lore, zoology, abtuse philosophical speculation, outlandish allusion, terrifying metaphysical pessimism and, above all, Hamlet-and-Lear-grade tragic characterization. Then his career gradually peters out, newspapers delcare him insane, a son kills himself, he takes a lowly job as a customs inspector at the port of New York while devoting his remaining literary energy to privately published poetry and homoerotic fiction that will be found in a trunk long after his barely-noted death. Was this guy really on the same planet as Balzac and Flaubert and George Eliot?

"Oh, trebly hooped and welded hip of power! Oh, high aspiring, rainbowed jet!—that one strivest, this one jettest all in vain! In vain, oh whale, dost though seek intercedings with yon all-quickening sun, that only calls forth life, but gives it not again. Yet dost thou, darker half, rock me with a prouder, if a darker faith. All thy unnamable imminglings float beneath me here; I am buoyed by breaths of once living things, exhaled as air, but water now.A month before this review was written, the video of what was described as "the first-ever footage of a live giant squid in its natural habitat" was aired on television. This is the year 2013, 162 years after the publishing of Moby Dick, and we still do not have the fullest grasp of these monsters. Kraken. Leviathan. These creatures, capable of diving to depths that would crush our skulls in an instant, growing to such sizes that reduce anything land has ever conjured up to playthings. If any being was worthy of an entire book devoted to its existence, it would be found amongst these.This is not merely a book, though. This is an obsession, an all-encompassing addiction. The reader will follow Ishmael following Ahab following the White Whale following Melville in his effort to pen down the Leviathan. Blood, bone, breadth, how it lives, how it dies, the physical prowess of its form, the seeming defiance of the laws of time and space, how it is classified and crucified and deified by man in an endless hunt through the ages. For Melville does deify it, this monstrous beast that inspired the tale of Jonah, a man who thought to escape divinity by fleeing to the sea. He sets Ahab as his Jonah, a man who has dared to slay multitudes of these gods of the sea, and sends out the White Whale. Ahab's body escapes, but his mind never emerges from the swallowing.But it would be too simple to stop there, an allegory for a biblical text that holds meaning for only a fraction of the earth's population. The true power lies in its battle with the questions concerning the capability of thought. Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?But as in landlessness alone resides the higher truth, shoreless, indefinite as God--so, better is it to perish in that howling infinite, than be ingloriously dashed upon the lee, even if that were safety! For worm-like, then, oh! who would craven crawl to land! Terrors of the terrible! is all this agony so vain? Take heart, take heart, O Bulkington! Bear thee grimly, demigod! Up from the spray of thy ocean-perishing--straight up, leaps thy apotheosis!Thoughts are the neverending cascades of an ocean, and the mind is a sailor. True, the ocean is scattered with islands where one may rest in peace, sticking to simple lines of thought that adhere to the strictest principles for maintaining said peace. But for much of its breadth it is a roiling and dangerous frontier, and that is what keen minds crave. To go beyond the safety and chase down the great Leviathans of its waters, to strip these great carcasses down and drag their useful bits and pieces back to the calm and quiet mainland, to carve the bones into houses and burn the fat as fuel. To remain sated until the next urge springs it forth on the next great hunt. And each and every time there is the mortal danger of utter annihilation of ship and crew. Each and every time there are the insidious workings of a threat far worse than simple death, for the mind caught in an obsession that drives it to denounce everything else is a ship that is cursed. " the wind howled on, and the sea leaped, and the ship groaned and dived, and yet steadfastedly shot her red hell further and further into the blackness of the sea and the night, and scornfully champed the white bone in her mouth, and viciously spat round her on all sides; then the rushing Pequod, freighted with savages, and laden with fire, and burning a corpse, and plunging into that blackness of darkness seemed the material counterpart of her monomaniac commander's soul."It is the internal Flying Dutchman of a single soul to which nothing is sacred, least of all the obsessive addiction that drives it on. For in the end what drives the mind on is the thought of killing the obsession once and for all. The thought for survival be damned.

This is a curious and unwieldy book. At times (and too frequently) it reads like the more excruciatingly detailed scenes of Robinson Crusoe; at others the zany songs, goofy scenes, and curious characters prove Pynchon and DFW to be no pioneers in their lighthearted pursuits. The descriptive prose occasionally builds into an alliterative tornado where form, content, and raw urgency combined to leave me buzzed and page corner-bending. There’s a staggering amount of wisdom dressed up in whale-speak and ship-speak, easily justifying the frequency with which this book is taught and revisited. The dialogue and soliloquies are reminiscent of (and well-nigh the equal to) Shakespeare: the rhythm of speech, if not technically similar, certainly conjures up the Bard and, regardless of the accurateness of my observation here, offers exquisite aesthetic delights. Indeed, this is the first book I've tried reading/whispering aloud in parts since moving through Paradise Lost earlier in the year. After a jocular commencement full of quaint homoeroticism and ominous adumbrations, the feverish intensity of the story picks up with Ahab’s declaration of his quest to find and kill the white whale. Not only does this scene kick the plot into motion, but it also signals the beginning of Melville’s flirtation with other perspectives outside of Ishmael’s semi-omniscient narration. Once I’d become familiar and comfortable with the mode of storytelling, we started bouncing from Ahab’s point-of-view back to Ishmael over to Stubb, and the story suddenly revealed a passionate and intimate aspect that would become so important with Ahab’s consuming madness as the book reached its climax. Everything in the story feels thoughtfully-constructed, but it occasionally falls into a predictable pattern that likely gives the book its reputation for—dare I say it—boringness. When the style changes feel fresh and organic (as in the perspective switches mentioned above), the mood and flow are well-affected. Frequently, however, Melville seems to be following the modern indie rock playbook: build up tension…build…Build…BUILD... release, ahh. Except here the tension comes from subjection to the minutest of details on whales, whalers, and whaling life that often come across as more creative and artistic Wikipedia entries. But then, right when you can’t take it anymore, and you drift into reverie contemplating the risk of eye injury from excessive computer-screen exposure, Melville switches into plot/action mode and the story takes off again…for 3 pages. (There are about 150 chapters in this book, which kinda makes you wonder about the institution date of the rule that literary and genre fiction must be distinguishable by chapter length). So is Moby-Dick the Great American Novel? I don’t think so, but it may at least be The Quintessential American Novel, in the sense that it's imperfect and it chronicles single-minded, results-driven obsession as well as the destruction of living mystery and mastery of the awe-inspiring Unknown. I couldn’t help but bring my modern day whale knowledge and sensibilities to the text (a failure on my part), and yet as soon as the brutality and glorification of whale-killing reached its peak, Melville preempted and precluded my ready protestations. Indeed, he mocks all of us who eat meat and would object to the brutal whaling he describes:But Stubb, he eats the whale by its own light, does he? and that is adding insult to injury, is it? Look at your knife-handle, there, my civilized and enlightened gourmand dining off that roast beef, what is that handle made of?—what but the bones of the brother of the very ox you are eating? And what do you pick your teeth with, after devouring that fat goose? With a feather of the same fowl. And with what quill did the Secretary of the Society for the Suppression of Cruelty to Ganders formerly indite his circulars? It is only within the last month or two that that society passed a resolution to patronize nothing but steel pens. And so I must begrudge Melville his whaling apology as I simultaneously confront my life’s own pusillanimous contradictions. In any case, Melville’s position shouldn’t be oversimplified—he’s interested in portraying both the glories and horrors of war and concedes that there are, in fact, ideals (however impossible/impractical they may be to attain): in legend, the first whale attacked by our brotherhood was not killed with any sordid intent. Those were the knightly days of our profession, when we only bore arms to succor the distressed, and not to fill men's lamp-feeders.Within a novel of such depth, where the literal nearly always represents something(s) more, such a close eco-reading is perhaps uncalled for. This book is overflowing with humor (French translation scene, anyone?), epic struggle, unhealthy human obsession (What is best let alone, that accursed thing is not always what least allures), destiny, societal escapism, and good old-fashioned adventure. And never have I read a superior description of the sinusoidal curve of life; of our empty pursuits; of the fundamental patterns to which we subject ourselves (and are subjected): Oh! my friends, but this is man-killing! (i.e. soul-killing) Yet this is life. For hardly have we mortals by long toilings extracted from the world's vast bulk its small but valuable sperm; and then, with weary patience, cleansed ourselves from its defilements, and learned to live here in clean tabernacles of the soul; hardly is this done, when -- There she blows! -- the ghost is spouted up, and away we sail to fight some other world, and go through young life's old routine again.Depressing and heartening. Life.

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