le 24 septembre 2012
I've read the complete Pinguin version, with mixed feelings. That it is a great piece of writing, is certain. Melville seemed to know all about "whaling" in his times. I guess this must have changed a lot today. In those days, it was a team of men against a huge and beautiful animal. This reminded me of The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway) It was then a risky business, death was always nearby: and for the man, and for the whale. The story is about a whaleship captain who lost one half leg in the hunting of the White Whale, and is obsessed since with revenge. Moby Dick gets a name and becomes a legendary whale, feared by all whalers. But there is much more to it than a story. We have Melville's philosophy about mankind : the portraits drawn of each crew member are fascinating. The author's humour is much linked to his philosophical thoughts. It causes us to think about man's destiny, or lot? And what then bothered me, even though this book will always be on my bookshelf? I met whales myself, in the Pacific Ocean, a marking point in my life experience. Thus, I cannot even imagine the killing of one. Melville knew how to describe the incredible beauty of them, particularly the "sperm whale", chased for its oil. The first one is killed only on page 200 (sigh), and how about the legendary White Whale? You'll read the book, and you will know. The magnificient descriptions of Nature are also omnipresent, often coloured with signs of bad omen which hold us in suspense. A huis clos drama in the wide open oceans...But there is so much more to say about this writing, as is in all great works, difficult to give a general commentary on it. I turned my pages until, eventually, the author praises the whale's intelligence. Because this is what I experienced myself, meeting them (I think blue whales), just under my nose, communicating! I cannot help uttering a plea for all the whales in the world : let them live! As Melville says: the whale survived in very old times, and will always survive.
le 15 juillet 2015
Une horreur, un cauchemars, un livre très très long, qui met de très mauvaise humeur...
Les personnages sont aigri, mauvais. Il y a une atmosphère froide et fatale et de peur... Les descriptions sur l'huile de baleine donne la nausée au lecteur. C'était certes ainsi à l'époque, mais là c'est de trop... A éviter!