Award-winning British author Philip Hoare will speak at the New Bedford Whaling Museum about his lifelong obsession with whales and Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, on Tuesday, July 13 at 7:00 p.m.
His new book, The Whale – In Search of the Giants of the Sea, won the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction. In a richly illustrated talk, Hoare will plumb the depths of the whale’s domain to reveal it as never before, trace its cultural history from Jonah to Free Willy, and show images from his ten years experience of whales, from Cape Cod to the Azores and New Zealand.
A widely followed commentator on the politics and proceedings of the International Whaling Commission, Hoare recently noted, “We stand at a crossroads for cetaceans. We see the fragile existence of these animals as a barometer of ecological threat. As symbols of an endangered world, they evoke, and provoke, anthropomorphism on a scale equal to their size and supposed intelligence.”
Philip Hoare is the author of several books, including Serious Pleasures: The Life of Stephen Tennant; Noel Coward; Oscar Wilde’s Last Stand; Spike Island; and England’s Lost Eden. He lives in Southampton, England, and frequently visits Cape Cod as a member of the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies as a volunteer on its humpback whale identification program. He also written and narrated a BBC film documentary, The Hunt For Moby-Dick, which brought him to New Bedford five years ago.
The Whale has garnered praise on both sides of the Atlantic. Publishers Weekly said of the book, “With Melville as his mentor and Ishmael as his muse, the author haunts one-time whaling town New Bedford, Mass., America’s richest city in the mid–19th century thanks to whale oil and baleen… This tour de force is a sensuous biography of the great mammals that range on and under Earth’s oceans.”
For the New York Times Book Review, Nathaniel Philbrick wrote, “Genius… The Whale (is) a rhapsodic meditation on all things cetacean. Hoare is always on the lookout for the revealing detail. He also has a finely tuned sense of perspective and pacing.”
The Washington Post noted that Hoare’s work “is rigorous, something every serious student of whales — and, more widely conceived, of the natural world — will want to have at hand.” National Public Radio said, “You don’t have to love Moby-Dick to love this book. But if you do, The Whale is probably one of the most sublime reading experiences you’ll have this year.”
The lecture is free to the public. The book is available for sale in the Museum store.
For more information, contact:
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