LONDON Copyright by Charles Olson I wish to acknowledge the grant of a . It 6 Call me Ishmael became the duty of Charles Ramsdale, also of . I am interested in a Melville who was long-eyed enough Call me Ishmael 1 3 to. If Cormac McCarthy were to write a critical study of Moby Dick, it would probably look something like Call Me Ishmael. American poet Charles. January 25, In the early s, while writing his Master’s thesis on Melville, Charles Olson began tracking down the books once owned.

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The classical Greeks understood that literature is a form of competition. To put this another way: What does it take to write after, say, The Odyssey? How does one answer to The Book of Job? What are the possibilities of even writing about Moby-Dick? How could Melville write calk Job? How did Melville assimilate the texts that presented the strongest anxieties of influence in his opus? Could Melville survive the wreckage of The Pequod? These are the questions that poet-critic Charles Olson tackles—sometimes directly, sometimes obliquely, and always with brisk, sharp language—in Call Me Ishmaelhis study of Melville and Moby-Dick.

The man made a mess of things. He got all balled up in Christ. He made a white marriage. He had one son die of tuberculosis, the other shoot himself.

He only rode his own space once— Moby-Dick. He had to go fast, like an American, or he was all torpor. Half horse half alligator. Melville took an awful licking. He was bound to. He was an original, aboriginal. It happens that way to the dreaming men it takes to discover America. Melville had a way of reaching back through time until he got history pushed back so far he turned time into space.

He was like a migrant backtrailing to Asia, some Inca trying to find a lost home. We act big, misuse our land, ourselves. We lose our own primary.

The writer-critic, or poet-critic, has a competitive proximity to the writers she discusses. The competition is registered verbally. The writer-critic is always showing a little plumage to the writer under discussion.


If the writer-critic appears to generalize, it is because literature is what she does, and one is always generalizing about oneself. Although a slim pages in my City Lights edition, Call Me Ishmael nevertheless vividly conveys the sources Melville synthesized to create Moby-Dick.

Olson trusts his readers to connect The Essex to The Pequod. Olson rarely sticks his nose in here, letting the reader synthesize the selections. As the strongest force Shakespeare caused Melville to approach tragedy in terms of the drama.

As the strongest social force America caused him to approach tragedy in terms of democracy. It was not difficult for Melville to reconcile the two.

Because of his perception of America: The Crew is where what America stands for got into Moby-Dick. He had to do more with the people than offstage shouts in a Julius Caesar. This was the difference a Declaration of Independence made. The Shakespeare section of Call Me Ishmael marvels: He then moves into a discussion of post- Moby Melville, a man perhaps crushed by his own charrles by any financial success, no, definitely no, but the metaphysical success. Like a Moses, Melville had charlex the god he so desperately needed:.

Melville wanted a god. Space was the First, before time, earth, man. When he knew peaces it was with a god of Prime.

Space was the paradise Melville was exile of. When he made his whale he made his god. Ishmael once comes to the bones a Sperm whale pitched up on land. When Moby-Dick is first seen he swims a snow-hill on the sea.

To Ishmael he is the white bull Jupiter swimming to Crete with ravished Europa on his horns: Olson agrees with an journal entry by Nathaniel Hawthorne that he cites at length: He gives over to his inner-alligator, torpid, enervated, numb, but still mf and potent and monstrous. And yet we can write after Melville; we can even calk on Melville. At the same time, paradoxically, a reading of Call Me Ishmael seems to foreclose the need, if not the possibility, of reading another study of Moby-Dick.



This statement is not meant to be a knock against Melville scholarship. View all posts by Edwin Turner. I am inclined to think so. If this is the case, I would claim that his final novel is his far more subtle masterpiece. Like Liked by 1 person. If some one desires to be updated with hottest technologies afterward he must be go to see this site and be up to date everyday. Then I read this review over at biblioklept.

So naturally this was the first thing I read when the books arrived. So intense and so […].

Call Me Ishmael

Large, and without mercy. I spell it large because it […]. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email.

Call Me Ishmael

This site ishmaeo Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Skip to content The classical Greeks understood that literature is a form of competition.

Melville went back, to discover us, to come forward.

He got as far as Moby-Dick. Like a Moses, Melville had found the god he so desperately needed: Published by Edwin Turner. Makes me want to read Moby Dick again, and then this! So call and so em Like Like. I spell it large because it […] Like Like. Anyway, your posts are always a pleasure. You certainly know how to read. Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Email required Address never made public. Post was not sent – check your email addresses!

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