In Search of Moby Dick: Quest for the White Whale

Tim Severin

ISBN 10: 0316645958 / ISBN 13: 9780316645959
Verlag: Little, Brown & Co., 1999
Gebraucht Hardcover
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| Dust Wrapper over Black boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. 9½" x 6½". 242pp. | First Edition (First Printing).Illustrated by Trondur Patursson. Maps to the endpapers. Illustrated with black and white drawings. For more photos or information, use the «Ask Bookseller» button and I'll be pleased to help. The book is in stock and ships from the rustic nirvana of Peasedown St. John, near Bath, England from a long-established bookseller - guaranteed by my reputation and the UK Distance Selling Act. Remember! BUYING THIS BOOK means my Jack Russells get their supper! Condition :: Very Good - in Very Good Dustwrapper. Gently bruised at the spine ends and corners with commensurate ruffling to the dustwrapper, with a short nick to the bottom corner of the upper panel and light soiling and rubbing to the lower panel. Extensive previous owner's inscription to the ½-title page. Text complete, clean and tight. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 135937

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Bibliografische Details

Titel: In Search of Moby Dick: Quest for the White ...

Verlag: Little, Brown & Co.

Erscheinungsdatum: 1999

Einband: Hardback in Dust Wrapper.

Illustrator: Trondur Patursson

Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Dust Jacket Included

Auflage: 1st Edition

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Inhaltsangabe:

Herman Melville's novel "Moby Dick" immortalized the concept of a battling white sperm whale, but did such a creature really exist? Explorer and writer Tim Severin travelled to the islands of the Pacific to find out. From Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas archipelago to Pamilacan and Tonga, Severin compares myth with reality in a fascinating journey of discovery. Along the way he investigates the real extent of Melville's whaling experience, and unearths other potential sources for his famous story; encounters the extraordinary whale-jumpers, who even now make their living by leaping on the backs of whales to ram home their spears; and observes a retired harpooner re-enact the curious ballet of a kill - transporting himself to his youth in the process, like a shaman from a forgotten age. Travel writing and personal and historical anecdote combine to offer an exploration of one of the ocean's enduring myths.

Review:

Historian and adventurer Tim Severin has made a career of retracing epic voyages. He crossed the Atlantic in an open boat of stretched leather to test whether a sixth-century Irish monk could have made a fabled journey to North America, and later explored the Spice Islands of eastern Indonesia to see how the archipelago has "evolved" since 19th-century naturalist Alfred Wallace first surveyed it. The quest for the white whale, however, lands Severin in different territory: the shifting currents of fiction. Following tenuous evidence of pale sperm whales, Severin embarks for the South Pacific and the birthing grounds of Melville's masterpiece. On Nuku Hiva, the setting for Typee, he finds that the island harbors "many of the sources that Melville had raided to embellish his own, rather thin, experiences." Also thin is any evidence of a white whale, so he moves on to Pamilican, a dirt-poor little scrape where the locals subsist on jerry cans of imported fresh water and by "jumping" the sea's bounty. Their principal prey is the whale shark, the largest fish in the sea. Artists of the jump actually wrestle these plankton eaters underwater by hand, hooking the beasts with a massive grappling hook before coming up for the fight on board. One ancient hunter speaks vaguely of having jumped a white whale shark, but there are also rumors of giant white manta rays and other fantastic creatures.

The centerpiece of the book is a visit to the little-known island of Lamarala, the "last community on earth where men still regularly hunt sperm whales by hand." An old-timer with 60 years of whaling notched into his harpoon explains enthusiastically that the white whale "has visited us many times. Sometimes it can be a wicked fellow." Severin's gripping firsthand account of an actual hunt gives credence to a 1993 report of 34 Lamaralese fishermen being towed out to sea for four days by a big bull sperm whale. But does he find Moby-Dick's kin? In a manner of speaking. What surfaces in these pages is not so much the white whale as the idea of the white whale--a creature bathed in mystery and the people that speak knowingly of it, all of whom give meaning to the sea. --Langdon Cook

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BookLovers of Bath is based in the rural idyll of Peasedown St. John in Somerset (God's Own Country) in the south west of England and actually very nearly in Bath. After 20 years of being “internet only” I have now opened a shop, Fact or Fable, in the premises of our now-closed Post Office. With over 20,000 books in stock and another 5,000 or so in the shop I run an old-fashioned book business with every book listed, graded, picked, packed and posted by my own fair hand… abetted by my Jack Russells who are really, not, helpful.

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