Yes, the world’s a ship on its passage out, and not a voyage complete….
—Herman Melville, Moby-D ick
On January 3, 1841, twenty-one year-old Herman Melville boarded the Acushnet, a New Bedford whaler, heading for the South Seas and the Pacific whaling grounds. He would spend 18 months on the Acushnet, learning to be a whaler. This would also be his coming-of-age passage and an education. As he later wrote about his character, Ishmael, "... a whale ship was my Yale College and my Harvard." On this voyage, Melville would take part in all aspects of the hunting, harvesting, and processing of whale oil aboard the ship. He would absorb the lore of the veteran seamen who made up the Acushnet's diverse and colorful crew. His first-hand experiences on this and several subsequent voyages would percolate to become the basis for his later seafaring novels, most notably his masterpiece, Moby D ick.
Moby-D ick Marathon, the longest continually running readathon of Herman Melville’s literary masterpiece, starts Saturday, January 5 at 12 noon Eastern Time and continues through the night to Sunday, January 6 at 1:00PM.
You can follow the reading live streamed here!
EDSITEment’s own Shelley NiTuama, Program Specialist in Literature and Language, will travel up to her hometown this weekend to participate as a reader in the marathon hosted by The New Bedford Whaling Museum. (Shelley’s reading time is approx 8:40AM Sunday morning, January 6th.)
- Among the Waves and Amid the Vortex, by local Moby-D ick-inspired artist, Jason Hancock.
- Signifying the Whale, a crowd-sourced loop of images with found and created whales.
- A portion of the reading will be conducted across the street at the Seaman's Bethel which is featured in the novel.
Students of all ages may enjoy taking an excursion through the museum listening to the Jacobs Family gallery Audio Tour to learn about the whale skeletons, and how Herman Melville describes them in the novel, Moby D ick.
Shelley NiTuama, Program Specialist in Literature and Language, EDSITEment