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  • Writer's pictureDenise Tolan

The Daily Dick: Musing in a Time of Angst

The Fossil Whale

"One often hears of writers that rise and swell with their subject, though it may seem but an ordinary one. How, then, with me, writing of this Leviathan?"



I like when Melville writes about writers and writing. I also like to imagine this is true - that writers meet the intentions of their words. I have read books with light themes and the writing is fine. But when you have to dig and scrape beneath the skin of the page, here is where the glory of writing is revealed.

People criticize the "whale" parts of Moby-Dick all the time - they say it is boring, redundant, not necessary to the story. But Melville is going deep - rising and swelling with his subject. What is the white whale to us? We will never really know until we see it all.

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