Herman Melville's Moby Dick: A Survival Guide to the Twenty First Century

Some Statements of Intent

Before I start, here are some general statements of intent, particularly intentions about trying to make this book accessible to anyone who is interested:

  • This online version of the book will always be freely available<
  • Moby Dick is also freely available online (as HTML, ePub and Kindle formats) courtesy of Project Gutenberg They may not be the most visually ravishing presentations of the text, but all the words at there. All links in this online book will go to the Project Gutenberg online HTML version of the book. There is also a slightly more visually ravishing and equally free eBook version of Moby Dick via StandardEBooks
  • Herman Melville's extraordinary letters to Nathaniel Hawthorne are also available online
  • I want to write in a way that the widest possible set of readers can follow. I have read too much modern literary critcism that, even as an over-educated middle class ponce, I can't bloody understand, because of it's use of abstract and difficult language. I definitely want to discuss complex ideas, but I want them to be explained and expressed as simply as possbile. If you can't follow what I'm trying to say, please let me know (add a comment!) and I'll try to be clearer - that kind of feedback will be invaluable.
  • I want to incorporate some perspectives (from spiritual and contemplative traditions, science and the recent meta-modern movement) that are not often included in literary criticism. I don't want to just reference academic texts, I want to also reference podcasts and blogs, which is where much of the interesting thinking is currently happening.
  • I want to lay bear some of the mechanisms of writing a book. You can see when each section was last updated - what that means is at that particular moment in time, this is what I felt was closest to the truth of whatever I was trying to say. You can also see the full version history of each section (click on the Updated link at the end of each section), and therefore see how that best approximation to the truth changed over time, which also suggests that what you read now may change in the future.
  • I have also added reflections (sometimes personal) to some of the sections to present a different perspective on them.
  • And there are references for each section, including links wherever possible so you can investigate the sources further.
  • I also want to open the book up to comments - I would love to be told I've got something wrong and be able to respond to that (possibly with something else that I've got wrong). Please do get stuck in.

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