Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Top 10: whale tales

Social historian and author Philip Hoare named a top ten list of books about whales for the Guardian.

Number One on his list:
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

First published in London in 1851 (in order to register its copyright in America), Melville's book mystified his British editor, who simply cut out parts he found immoral or blasphemous. Melville's madly digressive book - 135 chapters of everything you ever wanted to know about whales, and a lot you probably didn't - never sold out its first edition. The book languished until the 1920s when DH Lawrence, WH Auden and Virginia Woolf acclaimed it as a modernist text before its time. In Melville's metaphysical prose, the hunted whale becomes a numinous, immortal animal, an overarching symbol for his time, and our own.
Read about all ten titles on Hoare's list.

--Marshal Zeringue