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Moby Dick Chapter 26 Knights and Squires (Starbuck) 
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Post Moby Dick Chapter 26 Knights and Squires (Starbuck)
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Starbuck gave his name to something or other... I wonder if the logo is meant to evoke Moby Dick?

Chapter Link http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2701/270 ... m#2HCH0026

The initial description of Starbuck is very evocative, showing how tough and fit whalers had to be.

The chapter makes of Starbuck a hymn to American democracy and equality:

Quote:
"For, thought Starbuck, I am here in this critical ocean to kill whales for my living, and not to be killed by them for theirs; and that hundreds of men had been so killed Starbuck well knew. What doom was his own father's? Where, in the bottomless deeps, could he find the torn limbs of his brother?"


Starbuck's attitude makes him in Melville's eyes into something of a commoner king.

Quote:
"this august dignity I treat of, is not the dignity of kings and robes, but that abounding dignity which has no robed investiture. Thou shalt see it shining in the arm that wields a pick or drives a spike; that democratic dignity which, on all hands, radiates without end from God; Himself! The great God absolute! The centre and circumference of all democracy! His omnipresence, our divine equality!

If, then, to meanest mariners, and renegades and castaways, I shall hereafter ascribe high qualities, though dark; weave round them tragic graces; if even the most mournful, perchance the most abased, among them all, shall at times lift himself to the exalted mounts; if I shall touch that workman's arm with some ethereal light; if I shall spread a rainbow over his disastrous set of sun; then against all mortal critics bear me out in it, thou Just Spirit of Equality, which hast spread one royal mantle of humanity over all my kind! Bear me out in it, thou great democratic God! who didst not refuse to the swart convict, Bunyan, the pale, poetic pearl; Thou who didst clothe with doubly hammered leaves of finest gold, the stumped and paupered arm of old Cervantes; Thou who didst pick up Andrew Jackson from the pebbles; who didst hurl him upon a war-horse; who didst thunder him higher than a throne! Thou who, in all Thy mighty, earthly marchings, ever cullest Thy selectest champions from the kingly commons; bear me out in it, O God!"

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Last edited by Robert Tulip on Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.



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Post Re: Moby Dick Chapter 26 Knights and Squires (Starbuck)
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If, then, to meanest mariners, and renegades and castaways, I shall hereafter ascribe high qualities, though dark; weave round them tragic graces; if even the most mournful, perchance the most abased, among them all, shall at times lift himself to the exalted mounts; if I shall touch that workman's arm with some ethereal light; if I shall spread a rainbow over his disastrous set of sun; then against all mortal critics bear me out in it, thou Just Spirit of Equality, which hast spread one royal mantle of humanity over all my kind! Bear me out in it, thou great democratic God! who didst not refuse to the swart convict, Bunyan, the pale, poetic pearl; Thou who didst clothe with doubly hammered leaves of finest gold, the stumped and paupered arm of old Cervantes; Thou who didst pick up Andrew Jackson from the pebbles; who didst hurl him upon a war-horse; who didst thunder him higher than a throne! Thou who, in all Thy mighty, earthly marchings, ever cullest Thy selectest champions from the kingly commons; bear me out in it, O God!"


Melville ( I think it's Melville as himself, not as Ishmael, here) is staking his claim to greatness in the strongest terms. The comparisons are important - Bunyan the 'swart convict', the 'stumped and paupered arm of Cervantes'. I don't know much about Melville - it seems from this he saw himself as some sort of underprivileged outcast, who nevertheless can produce his pearl, his finest gold.



Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:31 am
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