Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added)
is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.
--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Deep diving

David Austen for Ch. 30, "The Pipe"
How did I miss this?

I somehow overlooked the Big Read of a Big Book, a novel I have long loved. Moby Dick is a book that goes resolutely its own bright, ecstatic way and tramples on the middlebrow novel like an archangel crashing down on a minor demon. 

Luckily for me (with my head evidently swathed in the clouds), Midori Snyder writes about the project on her blog, In the Labyrinth. Finding an account of this audio extravaganza there is just right; Melville knew all about labyrinths, whether they were a more traditional image of a labyrinth or something even stranger--seas or deserts or the maze of the human heart.

Many different actors, authors, and others read Moby Dick, and many varied artists illustrate it. Tilda Swinton, Simon Callow, Nathaniel Philbrick, Stephen Fry, and lots more... Go see.

6 comments:

  1. How wonderful! It's too bad we all missed it while it was going on, but at least it is on the Web for us to listen to, and I guess there's always next year, if this is an annual event?

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  2. i was transfixed by the Gregory Peck movie when it was shown to us in junior high school. Next, i was drawn to the book by Rockwell Kent's woodcuts. i had tried to read it, but my impatient mind simply never figured out how to "go" with the language.

    While on island this year, i finally listened to an audio version and was surprised and delighted to discover just how much humor there is in it...and the exquisite language and story telling...which i simply could not have gleaned if i relied on reading it from paper. i would have stumbled too much, over a language my mind could not hear. It's a handicap of mine. due to my impatient brain, i suppose. Anyway, i absolutely loved it. being read to, it opened up for me. Maybe, if i'd had teachers who loved reading aloud some of those "old" books, i could have found my way into them much earlier. i don't know. Maybe a lot of it is that the whale-shaped island has wriggled itself so deeply into my soul.

    Thanks for this invitation and link. i've subscribed via itunes and look forward to listening to it again, this way.

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  3. Robbi--

    There is a new post up everyday; it is in progress now. And you can listen to it from the start any time.

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  4. zephyr,

    Yes, he is attractive to illustrators--I like that version too. I wish, wish, wish Mervyn Peake had illustrated the book!

    I don't listen to much on audio, though lately I've listened to a couple of LibriVox books. Interesting to hear all those different voices, as it is with "Moby Dick."

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  5. Hey, Marly. Me again...Shelly...from Hollins. Tried to get onto your FB and couldn't. My FB is "Shelly Blankman". Could you try to friend me? Look forward to hearing from you!!!

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  6. I don't know why, but it's not coming up! Shall try typing in what I think the url would be.

    https://www.facebook.com/marly.youmans

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.