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Moby Dick Chapter 79 The Prairie 
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Post Moby Dick Chapter 79 The Prairie
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2701/270 ... m#2HCH0079

Herman Melville, as shortened, censored, pruned, hacked and otherwise truncated by Robert Tulip, while aiming to extract and retain the essential meaning like the gold in the refiner's fire, in the interest of attracting modern readers whose short attention spans are too impatient and flighty to read the longwinded old fartbag himself, despite his brilliance, wrote:
To feel the bumps on the head of this Leviathan would throw out some hints touching the phrenological characteristics of other beings than man. The Sperm Whale has no proper nose. Dash the nose from Phidias's marble Jove, and what a sorry remainder! Nevertheless, Leviathan is of so mighty a magnitude, a nose to the whale would have been impertinent.

The most imposing physiognomical view to be had of the Sperm Whale, is that of the full front of his head. This aspect is sublime. In thought, a fine human brow is like the East when troubled with the morning. Few are the foreheads which like Shakespeare's or Melancthon's rise so high, and descend so low, that the eyes themselves seem clear, eternal, tideless mountain lakes; and all above them in the forehead's wrinkles, you seem to track the antlered thoughts descending there to drink, as the Highland hunters track the snow prints of the deer. But in the great Sperm Whale, this high and mighty god-like dignity inherent in the brow is so immensely amplified, that gazing on it, in that full front view, you feel the Deity and the dread powers more forcibly than in beholding any other object in living nature. That one broad firmament of a forehead, pleated with riddles; dumbly lowering with the doom of boats, and ships, and men.

Has the Sperm Whale ever written a book, spoken a speech? No, his great genius is declared in his doing nothing particular to prove it. It is moreover declared in his pyramidical silence. Had the great Sperm Whale been known to the young Orient World, he would have been deified by their child-magian thoughts. If hereafter any highly cultured, poetical nation shall lure back to their birth-right the merry May-day gods of old, the great Sperm Whale shall lord it. Champollion deciphered the wrinkled granite hieroglyphics. How may unlettered Ishmael hope to read the awful Chaldee of the Sperm Whale's brow? I but put that brow before you. Read it if you can.


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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 79 The Prairie
Is he really mocking the 'semi' science of phrenology, where a person's character can be told by the shape of his head. Imagine trying to do this to a whale! But a sperm whale has no nose - so how will the physionomists read its character? He is long winded, but then you get witty gems as in the quote above 'a nose to the whale would have been impertinent . . . .your noble conceptions of him are never insulted by the reflection that he has a nose to be pulled'.


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