June 26, 2008


It'a all Jonah all the time lately at Goat Rope. And no discussion of that little gem of a story would be complete without at least a glance at that right whale of a book, Moby-Dick.

If ever a book ran away from its author, that would be the one. After making a name for himself writing travelogues, Melville masterpiece, unappreciated in his time, is vast and almost cosmic in scope. And of course he couldn't get by without a number of references to Jonah.

Prior to taking off on the Pequod, Ishmael visits a chapel at New Bedford to hear a sermon by the former whaler Father Mapple. And the topic was...you guessed it.

According to Father Mapple,

Shipmates, this book, containing only four chapters- four yarns- is one of the smallest strands in the mighty cable of the Scriptures. Yet what depths of the soul Jonah's deep sealine sound! what a pregnant lesson to us is this prophet! What a noble thing is that canticle in the fish's belly! How billow-like and boisterously grand! We feel the floods surging over us, we sound with him to the kelpy bottom of the waters; sea-weed and all the slime of the sea is about us!

You can find the whole sermon here. But it's way better to read the whole book.

NOTE: El Cabrero is still traveling. Links will resume the week of June 30th.


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