To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.
No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea,
though many there be who have tried it.
(visit the link for more Moby Dick-related artworks)
Aside from those more obvious considerations touching Moby Dick, which could not
but occasionally awaken in any man's soul some alarm, there was another thought,
or rather vague, nameless horror concerning him, which at times by its intensity
completely overpowered all the rest; and yet so mystical and well nigh ineffable was it,
that I almost despair of putting it in a comprehensible form. It was the whiteness
of the whale that above all things appalled me.
Tristan Lowe, Mocha Dick
Robert McCauley, Moby Dick Chapter 42, The Whiteness of the Whale
But not yet have we solved the incantation of this whiteness, and learned why
it appeals with such power to the soul; and more strange and far more portentous-
why, as we have seen, it is at once the most meaning symbol of spiritual things, nay,
the very veil of the Christian's Deity; and yet should be as it is, the intensifying agent
in things the most appalling to mankind.
All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things;
all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain;
all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab,
were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby-Dick.
Mark Summers, thanks to Stevereads
An old, old sight, and yet somehow so young; aye, and not changed a wink
since I first saw it, a boy, from the sand-hills of Nantucket!
The same — the same! — the same to Noah as to me.
Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee;
from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.
Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! and since neither can be mine,
let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee,
thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!
Tom Neely, And I only am escaped alone to tell thee,
thanks to But Does it Float
Now small fowls flew screaming over the yet yawning gulf;
a sullen white surf beat against its steep sides; then all collapsed,
and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago.
All quotes by Herman Melville