Day 28Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
April 16, 2022 by Yiyun Li
“Art thou not an arrant, all-grasping, intermeddling, monopolizing, heathenish old scamp…thou art as unprincipled as the gods, and as much of a jack-of-all-trades.” I once had a poster of Shakespearean insults. This one from Ahab could go on there, too.
“How immaterial are all materials! What things real are there, but imponderable thoughts?...Can it be that in some spiritual sense the coffin is, after all, but an immorality-preserver.” Ahab and Ishmael are two philosophers; sometimes they sound alike.
“Alike, joy and sorrow, hope and fear, seemed ground to finest duet, and powdered…in the clamped mortar of Ahab’s iron soul.” It feels like the moment before a catastrophic earthquake: no one can be himself any more, all are waiting for the destructive force.