That one euphonious compound
Tristin Lowe hat eine lebensgroße und naturgetreue Skulptur von Mocha Dick aus Filz gebaut und im Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, “creating and exhibiting new work in new materials and new media in collaboration with emerging and established international artists”, untergebracht.
The workshop’s current show is worth the trip if only to spend some time walking around Tristin Lowe’s “Mocha Dick,” a life-size re-creation, in pale industrial felt, of the notorious 19th-century sperm whale of that name that inspired Melville’s great white menace.
Jeremiah N. Reynolds, von dem uns das meiste über Mocha Dick überliefert ist — was man heute am besten in der Rathjen-Übersetzung von Moby-Dick vorfindet — beschreibt im Mai 1839 die lebendige Vorlage für Lowes Modell:
Viewed from a distance, the practised eye of the sailor only could decide, that the moving mass, which constituted this enormous animal, was not a white cloud sailing along the horizon. On the spermaceti whale, barnacles are rarely discovered; but upon the head of this lusus naturae, they had clustered, until it became absolutely rugged with the shells. In short, regard him as you would, he was a most extraordinary fish; or, in the vernacular of Nantucket, “a genuine old sog”, of the first water.
Jeremiah N. Reynolds: Mocha Dick: Or The White Whale of the Pacific:
A Leaf from a Manuscript Journal, 1839.
Gerade die erwähnten barnacles, die Mocha Dicks Leib bedecken, hat Lowe deutlich in Filz hervorgehoben. Und Roberta Fallon & Libby Rosof vom Artblog finden in Tristin Lowe: Big Mocha Dick at the FWM:
Terraced scars are carved into the felt, and zig-zag in stitches across the body. Beautiful barnacles are appliqued, flowering across the old survivor’s skin in colonies. In Melville and in Lowe, it is man’s nemesis, man’s alter-ego, and the engine of man’s greatest folly.
Die schlagendste Überlegung ebendort ist jedoch eine ganz nebenbei hingeworfene Theorie, wie “Mocha” unter Melvilles Händen zu “Moby Dick” wurde:
By July 1846 even the Knickerbocker Magazine had forgotten its earlier version [of Reynold’s article], reminding its readers of ‘the sketch of “Mocha Dick, of the Pacific”, published in the Knickerbocker many years ago…’. That account may well have led Melville to look up the earlier issue, in the very month he rediscovered his lost buddy of the Acushnet and fellow deserter on the Marquesas, Richard Tobias Greene, and began ‘The Story of Toby’ [the sequel to Typee]. May not ‘Toby Dick’ then have elided with
‘Mocha Dick’ to form that one euphonious compound, ‘Moby Dick’?”
Das ist Spekulation — aber das Logischste und Handfesteste, was derzeit darüber zu finden ist.