Leben mit Herman Melville

Blubber, blubber (50 miles off the Louisiana coast, its themes of hubris, destructiveness and relentless pursuit are as telling as ever)

leave a comment »

Update for Jürgen’s Livestream vom Meeresgrund:

Bettmann/CorbisIt’s irresistible to make the analogy between the relentless hunt for whale oil in Melville’s day and for petroleum in ours. [Melville’s story] is certainly, among many other things, a cautionary tale about the terrible cost of exploiting nature for human wants. It’s a story about self-destruction visited upon the destroyer — and the apocalyptic vision at the end seems eerily pertinent to today.

Andrew Delbanco: Melville: His World and Work.

We want our comforts but we don’t want to know too much about where they come from or what makes them possible. The oil spill in the gulf is a horror, but how many Americans are ready to pay more for oil or for making the public investment required to develop alternative energy? I suspect it’s a question that Melville would be asking of us now.

Andrew Delbanco for Randy Kennedy:
The Ahab Parallax: Moby Dick and the Spill,
New York Times, June 11, 2010.

Mr. Delbanco cautions, however, against the tendency to read environmentalist moralizing into “Moby-Dick,” as often happens when it is applied to contemporary disasters. Melville did, memorably, wonder whether the whale “must not at last be exterminated from the waters, and the last whale, like the last man, smoke his last pipe.” But one gets the sense that he would have considered the loss a greater one to literature than to the ecosystem. “Even as he recoiled from their blindness and brutality,” Mr. Delbanco said, “Melville celebrated the heroism of the hunters who would stop at nothing to get what human civilization demanded.”

Randy Kennedy, l.c., page 2.

From The Whale via New York Times

Images: Randy Kennedy: The Ahab Parallax: Moby Dick and the Spill;
Nathaniel Philbrick: What Lies Beneath, New York Times, March 25, 2010.

Living and dying with Herman Melville.

Written by Wolf

14. June 2010 at 12:01 am

Posted in Meeresgrund

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: