Which type is the big Squid in Moby-Dick?

MobyDick

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Hey, I just noticed the topic is moved to the section on Pop Culture, but Moby-Dick really is a great work of literature which hardly fits the description Pop Culture, so it is not less misplaced here than in the former section.
 

tonmo

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:) Hmm... I'm not so sure I agree! While I do believe that another forum or two may be needed here to ensure there's a home for everything (and int he meantime The Octopus' Den is in part the repository for all things lost), I do believe this forum is the most appropriate place for this discussion...

Doing a search on Google for +"pop culture" +"moby dick" yields about 900 responses... that might not be worth much, because of course they're not all in context... and I wasn't able to find a link worthy of making my point.

I don't think pop culture necessarily is "trendy", but trendy is a subset of pop culture... The definition of pop culture seems a bit elusive, but here's one take on it:

http://www.ucdsb.on.ca/athens/popculture/whatdef.htm

I believe that great works such as Moby Dick can be considered pop culture, at the same time as the Spice Girls. I guess it would be any form of entertainment (and Moby Dick is indeed a form of entertainment, is it not?) that has mass appeal / exposure / recognition.

Still, I'm sorry that I moved the discussion without your knowing. Going forward I'll try to be more sensitive to the thread authors when moving a thread, by sending a private message informing them of the move.

Thanks!
 

Fujisawas Sake

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Thanks Tony,

An interesting sidenote (keep in mind that it has been almost ten years since I last read Moby Dick: I noticed that they kept referring to the "physeti" (the Sperm Whale's scientific name is Physeter catodon) as a fish, even though the whalers knew that they produced milk. They even described the taste of the milk as that of "strawberries" (I doubt we'll be producing any whale dairies soon). I swear that they really didn't consider them mammals, even though they probably had the idea that they were.

Great novel, BTW.

Sushi and Sake,

John
 

MobyDick

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Thank you for your reply, Tony. Yes, Moby-Dick is indeed a form of entertainment, as all literature is (no matter how pretentious some critics may want to talk about it). The funny thing about it being placed in Pop Culture here is that one guide to Melville studies contains an essay about the influence of the novel in pop culture. It is probably this kind of studies that accounts for your 900 hits. But if the novel itself were part of pop culture, the world would surely look different, since the effort and concentration it takes to read the whole book are not activities usually associated with the term.
 

Clem

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Good points, Moby. Effort and concentration are not exclusive to "high" art and its appreciation, though. On the evidence, plenty of people put lots of effort and concentration into incorporating "pop" culture: "Star Trek" conventions, pilgrimages to Graceland and "Harry Potter" reading groups come to mind.

"Moby Dick" wasn't exactly a best-seller when it was first published, and I suspect that most subsequent readers were exposed to it in classrooms, when it was a chore. You're right, it's always been more influential than popular.

Maybe TONMO should consider losing the word "Pop" in it's forum title, and simply call it "Culture."

:?:

Clem
 

tonmo

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Clem said:
Maybe TONMO should consider losing the word "Pop" in it's forum title, and simply call it "Culture."

:?:

Clem
Yeah, I don't disagree there, in fact that's what I was originally going to suggest before I went off and tried to find a good definition of pop culture. Regardless, I am definitely giving this area some thought -- thanks to Moby and the rest for your input!
 

tonmo

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OK, I've been pushed over the edge due to an [Old Board Archive] note I'm about to post -- so I'm changing the name of this forum to "Culture and Entertainment"... Strange bedfellows, perhaps, but here we are. Thanks!
 

MobyDick

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Moby-Dick indeed was not popular in the nineteenth-century. During his lifetime, Melville's most popular books were those about the South Seas. Moby-Dick was rediscovered in the early 1920s.

To get back to the squid matter here, since Melville was in the whaling business for some time, I was thinking that he may have seen squid. But now I read the notes to the Hendricks House edition to the novel, it says that Melville most likely used a book by Bennett as a source.
 

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