Tag Archives: #mdm14

Moby-Dick Marathon

By Don Cuddy, originally posted to Southcoasttoday.com

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.

Moby-Dick Marathon, Today!

Today!14th annual Moby-Dick Marathon

A young bearded sailor will appear at noon Saturday, January 9, in the 19th-century garb of a whaleman and say, “Call me Ishmael.”

Thus begins the Museum’s 14th annual Moby-Dick Marathon, a nonstop reading of the great American classic commemorating the anniversary of the departure from the whaling port of New Bedford of the Fairhaven ship Acushnet with 21-year-old Herman Melville aboard.

From the moment those words are uttered to approximately 25 hours later when Ishmael is rescued from the Pacific by the Rachel, about 150 readers each will have read a short passage from this novel. Some will have read in Portuguese, Japanese, Italian, Danish, Spanish, or French, followed by that same passage in English. Traditional whaleship fare will have been consumed, washed down by coffee and cider. And a few hardy souls will have stayed for the whole adventure.

Readers will include descendants of Herman Melville and their families, professors, fishermen, schoolteachers, selectmen, students, journalists, legislators, physicians, clergy, and other lovers of Melville and Moby-Dick. Spectators are welcome at any time. Admission for the entire event is free.

nooks for Moby-Dick

Thank you Barnes and Noble Booksellers  for lending us

4 nooks

for use at the Moby-Dick Marathon

1/9/10 – 1/10/10

“Why MOBY Matters”

This Friday, January 8th, Melville scholars Wyn Kelley of MIT, Mary K. Bercaw-Edwards of Mystic Seaport and the University of Connecticut, Jennifer Baker of New York University, Tim Marr of the University of North Carolina and Robert K. Wallace of Northern Kentucky University will be meeting with members of Melville biographer Laurie Robertson-Lorant’s  “Why MOBY Matters” seminar for a roundtable discussion of Moby-Dick.  Participants in the seminar, about half of whom are teachers in local schools, have been reading Melville’s epic novel and meeting on Monday evening’s  for the past nine weeks as a run-up to the annual Moby-Dick Marathon.

This event, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 4-5:30 at the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park’s new education center, the Corson Maritime Learning Center.  The discussion will be followed by a dinner at 6:00 ($12; call ahead, 508-997-0046) and a free lecture by Melville Society President, T. Walter Herbert at 7:30, both at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  The Marathon–a continuous reading of Moby-Dick–will begin at noon on Saturday, January 9th, and finish up around noon on Sunday, January 10th.

“One Drawing Every Page of Moby-Dick”

The museum continues to gear up for the 14th annual Moby-Dick Marathon, officially starting on Saturday the 9th at noon. Helping to get us there, a series of playful, inventive, and interpretive drawings by Matt Kish. Matt is using his Signet Classic edition from 1992 with 552 pages and planning to make one drawing for each page. He hopes to complete his project in March of 2011, but makes no promises.

From his “One Drawing Every Page of Moby-Dick” project and blog.

Moby-Dick, page 110

Title: “Men may seem detestable as joint stock-companies and nations; knaves, fools, and murderers there may be; men may have mean and meagre faces; but man, in the ideal, is so noble and so sparkling, such a grand and glowing creature, that over any ignominious blemish in him all his fellows should run to throw their costliest robes.”

Matt Kish, Dec 20, 2009, 8.5" by 11", colored pencil & ink on found paper

Moby-Dick, from book to nook

Erin McHugh, transplanted New Bedford native, author, veteran Moby-Dick Marathoner, will be trying something new at this year’s event – her nook e-book reader.  Her most recent book is the The Little Road Trip Handbook. This year she will be reading at approximately 5:20 on Saturday the 9th of January.

Call me upstart.

When I show up every year to read in the annual Moby-Dick Marathon, I’m listed as a “Melville Aficionado,” for lack of anything more concrete, I guess. Not that I mind: it’s a classy moniker. Full disclosure? I’m a transplanted New Bedford-er, living in Manhattan (Melville’s adopted home), also a writer (often as dispirited as himself), bouncing back and forth as often as I can to my home in South Dartmouth. Even as a kid I was a frequent visitor to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, back in the 1950s when it was little more than a local rainy-day stop, and not a spectacular, world-class educational destination. I have made the four-hundred mile journey each year for the honor of having ten minutes to read from America’s greatest novel. This Saturday I’ll be wearing my scrimshaw whistle and my watchman’s cap, as usual, but I won’t be perusing my 22 different editions in my Moby-Dick collection beforehand, making the tortured decision of which one will get the nod to accompany me to the podium.

This year I’m going electronic. Call me nook.

For those of you who have missed the numerous Holiday Must-Have Lists, the Ellen DeGeneres Show, the ads and the publishing industry scuttlebutt, the e-reader – a device that downloads books electronically – has got a hot new contender in the category, and its name is nook. The remainder of my above full disclosure is that I work part-time as a Barnes & Noble bookseller – or, for the last couple of months, primarily, a nookseller. And I am a true believer.

I’ve spent more than three decades around the publishing industry. I’ve authored nearly twenty volumes myself. One way or another, I’ve spent my life making books. I thought that I would be the last holdout, e-readerwise. But I’m tired of lugging three tomes on the bus to New Bedford. I don’t want to carry a bigger backpack on the subway. I can’t afford to check in an extra bag at the airport. So I gave nook a try. And I love it.

Of course, not everyone is onboard. Scores of people have said to me, with much disdain, “Not me. I love my books.” Listen, everybody in a bookstore loves their books. The customers, the booksellers, and — I’m sure not just in my store — also the security guards and the maintenance crew. Moby-Dick is free to download on nook. So are Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and hundreds of thousands of other books in the public domain. Does it mean that I won’t cuddle up in front of a fire or hop into bed with a hardcover book? Of course not. A book is a book is a book, no matter how you hold it.

You’ll ask: “What Would Melville Do?” Are you kidding? Herman Melville, one of the greatest writers in our nation’s history, died a clerk, underappreciated, underread, underpaid. Any author will tell you that money is nice (and the majority of us don’t make a lot), but knowing that someone, somewhere, right now is out there reading your book? Oh, now that’s the stuff dreams are made of. I think Melville would approve of any “delivery system” that puts a book in a reader’s hands. Imagine if he could have enjoyed, in his lifetime, the place Moby-Dick has earned in America’s literary firmament. It’s all about availability. It’s nook, it’s Random House’s gorgeous Rockwell Kent edition, it’s my original $0.95 Collier edition (Skidmore, junior year), it’s Sterling Publishing’s beautiful pop-up version, it’s every permutation of the white whale out there. Melville would say, I’m sure, “As long as it’s read.”

Every time someone walks into Dartmouth’s wonderful Baker Books or up to the nook counter at my Barnes & Noble on 86th Street, or any other store in between, and buys a book instead of a video game, we win. Melville wins.

So, I realize I may be blackballed in the chowder line at the Whaling Museum on Saturday because I’m going rogue. But the truth is, the very best way to enjoy and breathe in Moby-Dick – and all its verbal nooks and crannies – is to hear it read aloud, where it takes on a whole new vivid, lovely, rich life of its own. And at the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Moby-Dick Marathon, it comes complete with a real, live Ishmael, the tolling of the ship’s bell, the johnnycakes, the creaky organ in the Seaman’s Bethel, and all the wonderful surprises that the Museum adds every year.

So, I’m setting aside my beautiful Moby-Dick collection this year, and reading from my nook – and you’ll still be listening to Herman Melville. Call me what you want. But I’m just a “Melville Aficionado.”