The Multi-Semester Moby Dick Course

  When i was in college, i was supposed to read Moby Dick as part of a novel class.
  The prof gave us two weeks to read this huge book. 
  Really?  Two weeks?  Maybe
students can plow through it in two weeks, but it's just going to be a chore.  Another great novel to add to the list of Books Read (but not remembered).

The big problem with Moby Dick

is that Melville met Hawthorne and turned his travel novel into a life, the universe and everything novel.
  Of course, that travel novel would've been a ripping good read that nobody would have heard of today, just like we only know of Melville's other books because yeah, he wrote those, too.
  So here is my suggestion for

The Multi-Semester Moby Dick Course

It doesn't need to meet more than once a wek, but it does have prerequisites. Before you can relax and enjoy the great whale story, you must be well-grounded in the basics of history & philosophy up until that time, with emphasis on early 19th century American history.
 Oh, and the Renaissance.

The pre-course reading is 

Matthew Pearl's stunning debut novel, The Dante Club, which takes place in the same Boston time period as Moby DickExceptionally squeamish people may wish to begin on p.50 or so.
  You won't meet Melville in The Dante Club, but Hawthorne, reputed to be the primary force in MD's metamorphasis from thriller to LU&E novel, is a major player in the mystery.

First Semester

begins with a discussion of 19th century America.    The contemporary novel is a good jumping off point to discuss Melville's world:  Boston literary society, issues surrounding the Civil War, religion in this time & place, science and medicine, and of coure Dante and his masterwork. Students can have group discussions of this novel, then share in-depth reports of different aspects of the society.

Second Semester,

the discussion moves on to 19th century transportation, the whaling industry (who went whaling & why; who did they leave behind, the state of science then and now (the chapter on why the whale should be considered fish, not mammal, is debate-worthy),  and examines whaling discourses in- and outside story
  What about the vengeance aspect, the mythology, the symbolism?  Does the different time period change any of your answers?
  IS Ishmael a simple man?

End of Course Movie Party

The Gregory Peck movie is supposed to be great.  i plan to watch it sometime, and it would be a great way to end the course.
  Maybe with these paper goods.

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