Friday, March 03, 2006

The Century Mark

This subject heading actually applies better to the middle of the week, because I've been in double-digit chapters for a few days now.

A slightly cynical outlook: "That mortal man who hath more of joy than sorrow in him, that mortal man cannot be true." It also goes back to my thoughts related to Ecclesiastes in an earlier post on the book: "With books the same. . . . and Ecclesiastes is the fine hammered steel of woe. 'All is vanity.' ALL." I'd say I'm a bit more existential in my outlook than focused on woe and sorrow, but I can relate to what he is saying. Life is not fluffy. (from chapter 96, The Try-Works)

Noooo! Enough already! "Since I have undertaken to manhandle this Leviathan, it behoves me to approve myself omnisciently exhaustive in the enterprise; not overlooking the minutest seminal germs of his blood, and spinning him out to the uttermost coil of his bowels. Having already described him in most of his present habitatory and anatomical peculiarities, it now remains to magnify him in an archaeological, fossiliferous, and antediluvian point of view." Exceedlingly exhaustive. I now know more about whales than I thought possible. I suppose through the ongoing tedium of it all he is saying something greater about life and society, but I'm only getting flashes of that and don't know if it would be enough to hold my interest without the group goal. (from chapter 104, The Fossil Whale)

Interesting . . . "Such and so magnifying, is the virtue of a large and liberal theme! We expand to its bulk. To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be who have tried it." (from chapter 104, The Fossil Whale)

Delusion or ironic prophecy? "The moot point is, whether Leviathan can long endure so wide a chase, and so remorseless a havoc; whether he must not at last be exterminated from the waters, and the last whale, like the last man, smoke his last pipe, and then himself evaporate in the final puff." He wonders if the whale will be hunted into extinction like the buffalo and makes a case that it will not. Yet the signs were there and he saw it coming. (from chapter 105, Does the Whale's Magnitude Diminsh?--Will He Perish?)

What a description: "He was a pure manipulator; his brain, if he had ever had one, must have early oozed along into the muscles of his fingers." (from chapter 107, The Carpenter)

Disc 17, track 5. Technorati tag:

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