Friday, December 21, 2012

Rereading Moby-Dick: Chapter 1 LOOMINGS


“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off -- then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”

How can there be a better sentence? Who doesn’t want to methodically knock people’s hats off? And that involuntary pause before coffin warehouses! That’s got to be one of my favorite sentences in the English language. That is right up there with some Joycean faintly snowfall and Cormac McCarthian horrible legions.

Enough of that, let’s talk hyphens! Is it Moby-Dick or Moby Dick? According to this, the novel is Moby-Dick with the hyphen, and the whale inside the novel is Moby Dick, no hyphen. The title was a marketing addition to the original title The Whale. So now you know. Don't knock anyone's hat off.

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