Last night at dinner my girls got us talking about octopai, which led to cuttlefish, which led to squid and giant squid. Well, it wasn't long until we were talking about Sperm Whales, at which point it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that I'd be reading Moby Dick after I got them to bed.
I haven't read it since grad school, where we studied it as part of a course on the Bible and Literature. I had a prof who, given the chance, used anything he could by an American author--how we made it through a full course on the Bible and Lit without dealing with Frye I'll never know. Sux 2 B CanLit.
If you've never read it, it's not at all what you think. I've always loved the book as one of the greatest examples in literature of a highly technical book that also embraces narrative. Where Homer loved his descriptions of sheilds, Melville wants you to know that rigging, harpoons, and everything else to do with whaling is worth knowing. Along the way the sermons, Platonic philosophizing, lust for revenge, and story of the scariest creature the world has ever known will hold you breathless.
It's that good, and I'm happy to have found an occasion to read it again. Thank goodness for cephlopods!