Dive Deeper: Journeys with Moby-Dick

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9780199855735: Dive Deeper: Journeys with Moby-Dick
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Herman Melville's epic tale of obsession has all the ingredients of a first rate drama--fascinating characters in solitude and society, battles between good and evil, a thrilling chase to the death--and yet its allusions, digressions, and sheer scope can prove daunting to even the most intrepid reader. George Cotkin's Dive Deeper provides both a guide to the novel and a record of its dazzling cultural train. It supplies easy-to-follow plot points for each of the novel's 135 sections before taking up a salient phrase, image, or idea in each for further exploration. Through these forays, Cotkin traces the astonishing reach of the novel, sighting the White Whale in mainstream and obscure subcultures alike, from impressionist painting circles to political terrorist cells. In a lively and engaging style, Dive Deeper immerses us into the depths of Melville's influence on the literature, film, and art of our modern world. Cotkin's playful wit and critical precision stretch from Camus to Led Zeppelin, from Emerson to Bob Dylan, and bring to life the terrors and wonders of what is arguably America's greatest novel.

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About the Author:


George Cotkin is Professor of History at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Review:


"[An] entertaining companion to Moby-Dick." --Publishers Weekly, selected as a "Pick of the Week"


"Delving beneath the huge cultural shadows cast by Melville's work, Cotkin reveals how many great writers, including Faulkner, Auden, and Masefield, have found inspiration in Melville's novel. Cotkin also scrutinizes cinematic and television adaptions of Melville's book, from the John Barrymore film, The Sea Beast, in 1926 to the Star Trek fantasy, The Wrath of Khan, in 1982. Even the playful treatment given Moby-Dick themes in Peanuts cartoons receives scrutiny! The 135 chapters may drift about as chaotically as the flotsam left when the Great Whale smashes the Pequod, but this flotsam has been pried from the depths, and it will thrill Melvilleans." --Booklist


"The book works so well because it is both serious and seriously entertaining...this new companion is as affable as it is smart." --The Boston Globe


"This is one grand intellectual adventure--an adventure in reading that parallels Ishmael's own astonishing journey. Moby-Dick is, of course, the masterpiece at the center of American Literature. It's a gigantic whale of a novel, and George Cotkin has done a marvelous job of bringing its many glittering aspects before us. I can't imagine a more timely, entertaining, or--indeed--illuminating book." --Jay Parini, author of The Passages of H.M.: A Novel of Herman Melville


"Dive Deeper is a pleasure to read and the truest portrait of Moby-Dick in American life and letters yet produced." --David Dowling, author of Chasing the White Whale: The Moby-Dick Marathon; or What Melville Means Today


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