Day 5Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
March 22, 2022 by Yiyun Li
“Hell is an idea first born on an undigested apple-dumpling.” Ishmael’s thought reminds me of Georg Christoph Lichtenberg’s The Waste Books, with notes spanning decades. I would read a similar book of thoughts, observations, and memoranda by Ishmael.
“Now and then he stooped to pick up a patch, or save an end of the tarred twine, which otherwise might have been wasted.” I love that Moby-Dick offers details about the microeconomics and macroeconomics of the whaling industry.
The multitude of things needed for a whaling ship: “a three-years’ housekeeping upon the wide ocean.” I often wonder if that sentence was why Marilynne Robinson named her novel Housekeeping.