Need Advice: Book About Moby-Dick - "Read it if You Can"

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Lifer
Nov 26, 2018
6,692
30,480
RTP, NC. USA
"Holy Blood, Holy Grail". It's a book published in 80s. When "The Da Vinci Code" became popular, that book also garner some notice. Interesting theory regarding Jesus' blood line. Was a nice distraction. I'm sure it's stuck in a box with my copies of Douglas Adams books. Oh, just trigger the memory when I saw Da Vinci.
 

AJL67

Lifer
May 26, 2022
2,421
13,814
Florida - Space Coast
"Holy Blood, Holy Grail". It's a book published in 80s. When "The Da Vinci Code" became popular, that book also garner some notice. Interesting theory regarding Jesus' blood line. Was a nice distraction. I'm sure it's stuck in a box with my copies of Douglas Adams books. Oh, just trigger the memory when I saw Da Vinci.
Loved the Holy Grail some of Python’s best work.
 

Yadkin1765

Might Stick Around
Nov 28, 2022
83
340
Maine
I read it for the story - which is the only way I could get through it at the time. But that said, I very much enjoyed it too. That was a long time ago and you make me want to read it again. I might need to wait on that but I really do want to reread it. I don’t think it’s implausible that Melville had more than one thing going on in his head. I doubt he would have thought that his book couldn’t be enjoyed on different levels, it being the work of genius that it is. But there are academic books all the time that argue unorthodox, unique, even eccentric, theses. Or there used to be. This seems like it should be, or used to be, a feature of academia. Why not self-publish it if no one will have you? I know you may think you’re damning yourself to obscurity but 1. Academic houses don’t guarantee non-obscurity. 2. Self-publishing is becoming a real thing and 3. At least it will be, well, there, even if only in e-format. These days it’s possible to get a few people on Goodreads to review it and if it’s well-written and readable, you might get some fans. I don’t know how far we can get into politics here, and I don’t mean to get into it, I’m not very adamant but, anyway, I was going to say that there is a backlash to what’s gone on in universities over the last few years and you might find a willingness outside the world of parochial academia to embrace, or consider, your ideas. After all, we don’t really have to believe everything you say to be entertained by your notions. I’m sure it’s possible people may find it interesting without agreeing 100%?
Thanks for the thoughtful response. I think your advice is right on the money. Perhaps posting in a forum focused on a plesant vice isn't the best idea. I tend to give my fellow man too much credit. But sometimes, when one is so invested in something, they'll take advice anywhere they can get it, no? I've considered self-publishing, but want to give it a little time. Rejections are more common than not. Maybe I'm just too excited by the whole thing and want for haste. Patience and time. I think I'll explore Goodreads. Great suggestion.
 
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Yadkin1765

Might Stick Around
Nov 28, 2022
83
340
Maine
I'm not sure what advice you are seeking. Are you asking us on advice on how to get published? Are you asking us advice on how to get other people to acknowledge your genius? I understand you cannot divulge the thesis of your book, but you wasn't exactly clear on what kind of book this will be. You compared it to Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, which at first made me think you were writing a novel. But the rest of your post suggests this is a more academic pursuit. So, is it a novel or something else?

Finally, and I understand you are frustrated with academia and you have enjoyed some libations prior to posting, but my brother in Christ, there is practically a cottage industry devoted to deciphering the meanings (both hidden and revealed) in Moby Dick. I say this to only suggest that perhaps the skepticism you have met with is not entirely unwarranted and may not be fairly categorized as being solely born of staid academic hubris. I would wager your knowledge of the topic at hand greatly dwarfs anyone here, myself especially included (I've only read the novel twice, and my knowledge of Melville overall is scant). But if people whose entire lives are devoted to understand the man and his work are of no use to you, what good are we likely to be?
Fair enough. This is a pretty well understood on my end. Of course, academics are going to skew towards their own biases. No one can avoid it. But, case in point: we've seen Alzheimers research these past forty years absolutely stunted by this sort of tendency. The powers that be wrongly focused on the amylase which turned out to be more of a tombstone like effect rather than a causative indicator. In this instance, the same is true. Experts are looking in the wrong direction, and with reason. Its the heritage of their field.

There is a meager cottage industry surrounding explanation of it, though most require great logical leaps to get at theories like: Melville was a closeted homosexual (possibly); or that he had an illicit affair with his neighbor. None really hold up to scrutiny beyond speculation and bank on their licentious content. And none, absolutely zero, account for the entirety or even a majority of the book--they cherry pick and ignore as needed (signals of logical leaping).

My book explains the motive, the thrust, the design, the reasoning, and the meaning behind the book. It discovers through contemporaneous primary materials and the curious constructs of the book a hidden etymological meaning which finally explains precisely why the book begins with "Etymologies" and what it means to the greater whole. It is nonfiction, but focuses on solving etymological enigmas and literary riddles and puzzles which litter the text while putting them all in a biographical context.
 
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Yadkin1765

Might Stick Around
Nov 28, 2022
83
340
Maine
Are you saying the smoking made him a better writer or person? Come on man! Really?

Next you'll be writing an apology for Stalin because he smoked a pipe. Moby Dick is simply a news story blown up into a book. It's a great yarn for kids of a certain age. Back in the day someone or another decided to make reading and enjoying it unacceptable. It became homework, requiring essays and such. My high-school teacher took all of the fun out of the tale.

I reread it years later, without all the psycho babble. It became a favorite of mine. A grand story, nothing to obsess over. It's bit like pipe smoking . . . some smokers obsess over it. I simply don't see the fun that. Some of us are wired for obsessing though. Different strokes I concede.
The pipe thing was clearly a joke. You're really pushing a slippery slope by suggesting such would be apology for Stalin. Just absurdism at its best. I suppose it's not common to celebrate authors or popular figures that puffed a pipe in this forum, huh?

If you think Moby-Dick is a just story, well, basically, you didn't read it. The abridged version is for people who don't want to strain their thinkers. It is one of the first novels ever written that wasn't just a story. As a matter of fact, there is not much of a story there at all. Man is mad at a whale, pursues him, kills other whales on the way, encounters pursued whale, whale sinks boat, all die but one. It really bares limited resemblance to the news story at all. And it certainly is for kids, most especially not today considering more than half of people have a literacy level under that of a sixth grader.

You speak out of both sides of your mouth. I'd venture to say you've a little of the obsessive type in you. You say you don't obsess over pipe smoking, yet here you are, everyday, posting in a pipe smokers forum.

My father use to poo-poo so-called obsessions in me and my six siblings, until one day I realized it just meant he did know how to maintain a sustained and engaged interest in anything beyond sports.
 

Yadkin1765

Might Stick Around
Nov 28, 2022
83
340
Maine
Holy Blood, Holy Grail is fun. My book is fun like that, but obviously a bit more tedious because it doesn't concern well known tales in religion. That's the relationship I try to make with pointing out its similarity to The Di Vinci Code.
 

Yadkin1765

Might Stick Around
Nov 28, 2022
83
340
Maine
If no one has already posited your ideas on the novel, it sounds like you've essentially written a wholly original thesis—why not go for the PhD?
Thanks for the suggestion. Makes sense. It is wholly original, and solves like 90% of the conundrums surrounding the novel and author. My beta reader suggested the same. It is a reasonable option. Time will tell. Once all the kids are in school full time, I may do just that. Thanks.

Out of curiosity, have you pursued a PhD?
 
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AJL67

Lifer
May 26, 2022
2,421
13,814
Florida - Space Coast
I have read Moby Dick at least three times. It is one of those works that needs to be dusted off periodically. There are so many layers to the book, it becomes difficult to keep track of everything Melville is trying to convey. The saddest chapter is near the end when Ahab reflects on the years spent away from his wife and child, a realization of the cost of his obsession.

Anyway, maybe you should consider self-publishing. Maybe the act of getting it “out there”, regardless of the size of your audience will provide a level of gratification. I have written two novels and am working on a third. I find the exercise cathartic.
By the way, there is actually a Moby Dick page on Facebook.

So where can one get your book?
I bet you’re a blast at parties.
 

HawkeyeLinus

Lifer
Oct 16, 2020
3,023
19,778
Iowa
The pipe thing was clearly a joke. You're really pushing a slippery slope by suggesting such would be apology for Stalin. Just absurdism at its best. I suppose it's not common to celebrate authors or popular figures that puffed a pipe in this forum, huh?

If you think Moby-Dick is a just story, well, basically, you didn't read it. The abridged version is for people who don't want to strain their thinkers. It is one of the first novels ever written that wasn't just a story. As a matter of fact, there is not much of a story there at all. Man is mad at a whale, pursues him, kills other whales on the way, encounters pursued whale, whale sinks boat, all die but one. It really bares limited resemblance to the news story at all. And it certainly is for kids, most especially not today considering more than half of people have a literacy level under that of a sixth grader.

You speak out of both sides of your mouth. I'd venture to say you've a little of the obsessive type in you. You say you don't obsess over pipe smoking, yet here you are, everyday, posting in a pipe smokers forum.

My father use to poo-poo so-called obsessions in me and my six siblings, until one day I realized it just meant he did know how to maintain a sustained and engaged interest in anything beyond sports.
I think you are getting a little too far afield and a little too personal, IMO, in more than a couple of ways. Let's not make this whole thread a cathartic exercise?

Glad this is a favorite book of yours, maybe the world needs another book analyzing it, but want to be a writer have to handle criticism (good luck with a real editor) and some byplay on the forum. Plenty of folks here I'm sure have taken on literature just as interesting, just as complex or just as ponderous as Moby Dick.

Moby Dick will forever be on the list of "will never reads" for me, along with War And Peace, Gone With The Wind and Ulysses. Plenty of others, but been reading voraciously from a young age and I like what I like and don't have time to read everything - probably 30 books sitting on the shelves right now I need to get to.

If someone loves the book, great, that's what books are all about.
 
Dec 3, 2021
2,790
21,920
Pennsylvania & New York
Thanks for the suggestion. Makes sense. It is wholly original, and solves like 90% of the conundrums surrounding the novel and author. My beta reader suggested the same. It is a reasonable option. Time will tell. Once all the kids are in school full time, I may do just that. Thanks.

Out of curiosity, have you pursued a PhD?
I have not. When I was considering teaching art more, a Master's was not required at the time where I attended art school to teach, but, I considered getting one later when it was required; I taught drawing as an adjunct at another school and didn't need a higher degree for the level I was teaching—I didn't find teaching there as fulfilling as I might've at a full time art school and stopped. As far as advanced degrees, I ultimately decided I didn't feel like I wanted to spend any more time as a student than I already have. That's about the extent of my pursuit of higher education (next to nil).

A brother and sister-in-law have gotten PhDs, so I'm quite familiar with the process.

I have a number of theses in my book collection of an author whose work I collect in-depth, including his own, and ones written about his work.
 
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Yadkin1765

Might Stick Around
Nov 28, 2022
83
340
Maine
I think you are getting a little too far afield and a little too personal, IMO, in more than a couple of ways. Let's not make this whole thread a cathartic exercise?

Glad this is a favorite book of yours, maybe the world needs another book analyzing it, but want to be a writer have to handle criticism (good luck with a real editor) and some byplay on the forum. Plenty of folks here I'm sure have taken on literature just as interesting, just as complex or just as ponderous as Moby Dick.

Moby Dick will forever be on the list of "will never reads" for me, along with War And Peace, Gone With The Wind and Ulysses. Plenty of others, but been reading voraciously from a young age and I like what I like and don't have time to read everything - probably 30 books sitting on the shelves right now I need to get to.

If someone loves the book, great, that's what books are all about.
I think you miss the point. What I have responded to is not criticism, but schoolyard hijinks. Sandbox rules: don't dish if you can't take.

Scenario: guy gets on friendly forum, post about the fruits of his labor, passion, interest. Is passively called without rationalization: pretentious, obsessive, (albeit tongue-in-cheek, ion not in bad taste) Stalinist, that his work is without merit because its just a story, etc...

These are not educated criticisms but uninformed, passive stone throwing. To what ends? Is it pleasant to the poster to degrade another? Now, if these were educated, logically presented, and clearly informed responses, then, well, whatever. But, they are not.

I'm not taking it personally so much as playing the ball as it lies. It is in no way cathartic. I was hoping for mature constructive engagement. Nothing good or fun to say, don't say it. But I will defend my position when advanced upon. In some strange way, it feel's like its my turf. And why not? Should I cower. Just eat it in silence.

Again, if ya can't take it, don't dish it. Perhaps, you've directed this post at the wrong culprit.