Moby Dick Archive

The Dark Side of the Wild

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How does the idea of the “wild” manifest itself in the lives, and ways of living, that contemporary America remains both fascinated by and deeply ambivalent about?

Prophecies, Odds, Fate, and…Your Vote

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In the ruins of Moria, at a fork in the mountain tunnels, Gandalf explains to Frodo how the burden of carrying the ring to Mordor was passed to him. The word he uses? “Encouraging.” Tough to swallow, but Frodo learns if it weren’t for him, there would be no

What Country?

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In a 2001 Penguin introduction to the novel, Colm Tóibín writes: “In Another Country, Baldwin created the essential American drama of the century.” Baldwin’s novel is rife with symbols of life in the USA: jazz, cocktails, the movies, and the idea of “making it.” It’s a story of searching

My Literary Zombie Apocalypse Dream Team

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It’s a discussion as old as time itself: in the event of a zombie apocalypse, with whom would you hope to be stranded? I know I’ve given this a lot of thought (I am, after all, a very serious and presently unemployed intellectual with way too much time on

“An Essay Needs to be about Exploring”: An Interview with Angela Pelster

Angela Pelster is the author of Limber (Sarabande Books, 2014), for which she won the Great Lakes College Association New Writer Award. This book was first described to me as a “collection of essays about trees,” which is like saying Moby Dick is a book about a whale. Trees

The Things I Haven’t Read

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Legend had it that a famous scholar of nineteenth century American literature visited my college to lecture, and someone asked him a question about Melville. He began his answer with “While I’ve never read Moby-Dick…” At this remove, I still question the man’s scholarship and sanity—but I do admire his

Suggestions for the Next iBooks Update

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Writing Lessons: Judith Conte

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In our Writing Lessons series, writing students will discuss lessons learned, epiphanies about craft, and the challenges of studying writing. This week, we hear from Judith Conte, a student at the 2013 Kachemak Bay Writers Conference. You can follow Judith on Twitter @JudithConte. —Andrew Ladd, Blog Editor At the 2013