- 23,99 €
Herman Melville's epic tale of obsession has all the ingredients of a first rate drama--fascinating characters in solitude and society, battles between good and evil, a thrilling chase to the death--and yet its allusions, digressions, and sheer scope can prove daunting to even the most intrepid reader. George Cotkin's Dive Deeper provides both a guide to the novel and a record of its dazzling cultural train. It supplies easy-to-follow plot points for each of the novel's 135 sections before taking up a salient phrase, image, or idea in each for further exploration. Through these forays, Cotkin traces the astonishing reach of the novel, sighting the White Whale in mainstream and obscure subcultures alike, from impressionist painting circles to political terrorist cells. In a lively and engaging style, Dive Deeper immerses us into the depths of Melville's influence on the literature, film, and art of our modern world. Cotkin's playful wit and critical precision stretch from Camus to Led Zeppelin, from Emerson to Bob Dylan, and bring to life the terrors and wonders of what is arguably America's greatest novel.
In this entertaining companion to Moby-Dick, California Polytechnic State University historian Cotkin addresses the novel chapter by chapter, briefly invoking a chapter s premise before exploring its subjects, themes, and author, as well as the novel s life, reception, and legacy. Cotkin s comprehensive method is attuned to both popular representations and individuals who have heeded the novel s call to dive into the mysteries of meaning, into the storms of existence. There s the novel s presence in the art of Red Grooms and Frank Stella, its reverberations in Hart Crane s poetry and Cormac McCarthy s novels, as well as its use in Abbott and Costello s comedy routine, in marketing whale meat, and in Star Trek, where Ahab manifests as Khan, villain (and Melville devotee). Melville s influence on rapper MC Lars and the novel s rewriting into Japanese emoticons feel less urgent, but whimsy is balanced with plenty of punches at Ahab s target, the pasteboard mask of reality. Melville s interest in hieroglyphics is paired with the novel s passages on the cryptic markings found on whale skin; over such markings, Cotkin writes, Melville quaked with anxiety because he sensed from the hieroglyphics of God s creation that the meaning of it all was meaningless at best and evil at worst. Cotkin s discussion of Melville s use of the novel to wrestle with theodicy provides additional glimpses of the depths of America s novel.