Monday, October 27, 2008

Interpretive minnow ...

... AN Wilson on Moby-Dick - a modern tragedy. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

To think of Moby-Dick in terms of the current financial unrest is symptomatic of the shallowness of much contemporary thought. That "team of blameless hangers-on" had earlier solemnly sworn "death to Moby-Dick!" Even Starbuck puts aside his reservations at the end. And to equate the Pequod with America is to reduce the book to a sociopolitical cliche.
Ahab is best understood as a consistent Calvinist who has concluded that God is neither loving nor merciful. Being an honest man, he proceeds accordingly. Darwin grand idea would have stirred not a ripple of doubt in Ahab: A world of random mutation would have struck Ahab as just the sort a Calvinist God would have made.

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