Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME ENTER FORUMS OUR BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Mon Oct 14, 2019 11:17 pm





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average. 
Moby Dick Chapter 68 The Blanket 
Author Message
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 5813
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 2268
Thanked: 2197 times in 1664 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Moby Dick Chapter 68 The Blanket
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2701/270 ... m#2HCH0068

A learned and experienced discourse on"that not unvexed subject, the skin of the whale."

"Not unvexed" is of course a pompous way of saying vexed. Go Herman! The nonunvexedness of this topic is due to the mighty sperm whale having a skin as fine as gossamer, smooth as a princesses' bum.

Quote:
what and where is the skin of the whale? Already you know what his blubber is. That blubber is something of the consistence of firm, close-grained beef, but tougher, more elastic and compact, and ranges from eight or ten to twelve and fifteen inches in thickness.


Outside the blubber is an
Quote:
infinitely thin, transparent substance, somewhat resembling the thinnest shreds of isinglass, only it is almost as flexible and soft as satin; that is, previous to being dried, when it not only contracts and thickens, but becomes rather hard and brittle. I have several such dried bits, which I use for marks in my whale-books.

This is the skin of the skin
Quote:
it were simply ridiculous to say, that the proper skin of the tremendous whale is thinner and more tender than the skin of a new-born child. But no more of this.

Therefore
Quote:
Assuming the blubber to be the skin of the whale; then, when this skin, as in the case of a very large Sperm Whale, will yield the bulk of one hundred barrels of oil

Must get our commercial priorities straight!

And then we get to the mystic Egyptian markings etched in the blubber.
Quote:
These are hieroglyphical; that is, if you call those mysterious cyphers on the walls of pyramids hieroglyphics, then that is the proper word to use in the present connexion. By my retentive memory of the hieroglyphics upon one Sperm Whale in particular, I was much struck with a plate representing the old Indian characters chiselled on the famous hieroglyphic palisades on the banks of the Upper Mississippi. Like those mystic rocks, too, the mystic-marked whale remains undecipherable.

Similar also to geological discoveries
Quote:
those New England rocks on the sea-coast, which Agassiz imagines to bear the marks of violent scraping contact with vast floating icebergs—I should say, that those rocks must not a little resemble the Sperm Whale in this particular.

And his blubber keeps him warm as toast, all the better to boil him down for candles and soap
Quote:
For the whale is indeed wrapt up in his blubber as in a real blanket or counterpane; or, still better, an Indian poncho slipt over his head, and skirting his extremity. It is by reason of this cosy blanketing of his body, that the whale is enabled to keep himself comfortable in all weathers, in all seas, times, and tides. What would become of a Greenland whale, say, in those shuddering, icy seas of the North, if unsupplied with his cosy surtout? True, other fish are found exceedingly brisk in those Hyperborean waters; but these, be it observed, are your cold-blooded, lungless fish, whose very bellies are refrigerators; creatures, that warm themselves under the lee of an iceberg

And Melville reveals he knows the whale is a mammal and not a fish
Quote:
like man, the whale has lungs and warm blood. Freeze his blood, and he dies. How wonderful is it then—except after explanation—that this great monster, to whom corporeal warmth is as indispensable as it is to man; how wonderful that he should be found at home, immersed to his lips for life in those Arctic waters!

And more phrenological style science
Quote:
as has been proved by experiment, that the blood of a Polar whale is warmer than that of a Borneo negro in summer.

Waxing Biblical, after Paul's line in Romans 2:1 (Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest)
Quote:
Oh, man! admire and model thyself after the whale! Do thou, too, remain warm among ice. Do thou, too, live in this world without being of it. Be cool at the equator; keep thy blood fluid at the Pole. Like the great dome of St. Peter's, and like the great whale, retain, O man! in all seasons a temperature of thine own. But how easy and how hopeless to teach these fine things! Of erections, how few are domed like St. Peter's! of creatures, how few vast as the whale!


_________________
http://rtulip.net


Last edited by Robert Tulip on Tue May 29, 2012 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total.



Tue May 29, 2012 9:12 am
Profile Email WWW
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average. 



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:

Announcements 

• Promote Your Fiction Book on BookTalk.org
Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:33 pm

• Promote Your Non-Fiction Book on BookTalk.org
Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:18 pm



Site Resources 
HELPFUL INFO:
Forum Rules & Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
BBCode Explained
Author Interview Transcripts
Be a Book Discussion Leader!

IDEAS FOR WHAT TO READ:
Bestsellers
Book Awards
• Book Reviews
• Online Books
• Team Picks
Newspaper Book Sections

WHERE TO BUY BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

BEHIND THE BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

PROMOTE YOUR BOOK!
Advertise on BookTalk.org
How To Promote Your Book





BookTalk.org is a thriving book discussion forum, online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a community. Our forums are open to anyone in the world. While discussing books is our passion we also have active forums for talking about poetry, short stories, writing and authors. Our general discussion forum section includes forums for discussing science, religion, philosophy, politics, history, current events, arts, entertainment and more. We hope you join us!


Navigation 
MAIN NAVIGATION

HOMEFORUMSOUR BOOKSAUTHOR INTERVIEWSADVERTISELINKSFAQDONATETERMS OF USEPRIVACY POLICYSITEMAP

OTHER PAGES WORTH EXPLORING
Banned Book ListOnline Reading GroupTop 10 Atheism Books

Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2019. All rights reserved.
Display Pagerank