Moby-Dick Marathon

By Don Cuddy, originally posted to

The 14th edition of the annual “Moby-Dick” marathon, now a winter tradition at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, got under way at noon Saturday.

The nonstop reading of Herman Melville’s epic tale drew an enthusiastic crowd that included many who were coming to New Bedford for the first time, as well as the serious Melville fans who would not miss the 25-hour marathon. For many, to quote Ishmael himself at the outset of the whaling voyage, opening the book allows “the great flood-gates of the wonder-world” to swing open.

Photo by David W. Oliveira, Standard-Times, Rev. Edward Dufresne has the crowd's attention during “Moby-Dick Marathon”

Dana Westover has read at every marathon. “I became a huge fan of Melville and Conrad as a kid. It was a world that no longer existed, but the language was so delicious you could roll it off your tongue,” he said. “‘Moby-Dick’ is a lovely book, but you have to be patient with it. I’m surprised more people don’t get the humor. Some of it is very funny.”

Over the years, the marathon’s reputation has spread far beyond New Bedford and has attracted international media attention, such as last year’s feature in London’s Financial Times.

Read the full article here:  For the curious, the fans and the scholars, ‘Moby-Dick’ redux

Admission is free.

4 responses to “Moby-Dick Marathon

  1. This was my first marathon, and I had a great time. My brother, who attended last year, talked me into coming, and we both stayed for the full 24+ hours. I was amazed at how well the event was organized and how gracious all the volunteers, museum personnel, and participants were. I’m looking forward to the 2011 marathon!

  2. Thanks for joining us!

  3. Great fun!! Special thanks to the staff & volunteers who organized the readers, and to the smiling ladies who so generously fed us!

  4. Who was the woman who read four times during the night? She had a very pleasant voice and manner of speaking. I wanted to thank her after the marathon was over, but I didn’t see her.

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