Skip to comments.The True-Life Horror That Inspired Moby-Dick
Posted on 03/16/2016 7:29:04 PM PDT by MtnClimber
n July of 1852, a 32-year-old novelist named Herman Melville had high hopes for his new novel, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, despite the books mixed reviews and tepid sales. That month he took a steamer to Nantucket for his first visit to the Massachusetts island, home port of his novels mythic protagonist, Captain Ahab, and his ship, the Pequod. Like a tourist, Melville met local dignitaries, dined out and took in the sights of the village he had previously only imagined.
And on his last day on Nantucket he met the broken-down 60-year-old man who had captained the Essex, the ship that had been attacked and sunk by a sperm whale in an 1820 incident that had inspired Melvilles novel. Captain George Pollard Jr. was just 29 years old when the Essex went down, and he survived and returned to Nantucket to captain a second whaling ship, Two Brothers. But when that ship wrecked on a coral reef two years later, the captain was marked as unlucky at seaa Jonahand no owner would trust a ship to him again. Pollard lived out his remaining years on land, as the village night watchman.....
Pollard had told the full story to fellow captains over a dinner shortly after his rescue from the Essex ordeal, and to a missionary named George Bennet. To Bennet, the tale was like a confession. Certainly, it was grim: 92 days and sleepless nights at sea in a leaking boat with no food, his surviving crew going mad beneath the unforgiving sun, eventual cannibalism and the harrowing fate of two teenage boys, including Pollards first cousin, Owen Coffin. But I can tell you no moremy head is on fire at the recollection, Pollard told the missionary. I hardly know what I say.
(Excerpt) Read more at smithsonianmag.com ...
Whales can fight back too.
This is the movie IN THE HEART OF THE SEA.
White Whale Privilege
Yup! Excellent movie.
The first half of the late movie, In The Heart of the Sea, is riveting story-telling as the crew if a whaling ship (with a captain and first mate at odds with one another) deals with inclement weather and a fearless whale. The second half is just as harrowing. But because it’s all about how the survivors of the whale’s attack drift helplessly in life boats for weeks on end, it’s not nearly as thrilling.
I think Pollard locked himself in his room and fasted on the anniversary of the sinking of the Essex for the rest of his life.
The original name was Mocha (for the town) Dick and Melville changed it to Moby and no one knows why
I just finished the book yesterday. Very well documented, lots of research. Lots of mistakes were made by the owners, captain & first mate. Captain Pollard lost a second ship and never sailed again.
I read “In the Heart of the Sea” a few years ago and enjoyed it. I just finished another shipwreck novel based on a true story: “Boon Island” by Kenneth Roberts written in 1956. He knows how to tell a rip roaring good tale. This one takes place in England, at sea, and then on Boon Island off the coast of Maine in 1710.
Have you read “The Sea Wolf” by Jack London? A really great read!
Perhaps he didn't like calling a white whale "Mocha"?
I believe Melville's wife's cousin was on board the USN bark whose attempted mutiny was the basis for "Billy Budd".
The leader of the attempted mutiny was the ne'er-do-well rakish son of the Sec O' War at the time, and was also a suspect in the death of Mary Rogers, whose "body" was discovered about the time he left on that Africa patrol.
Mary Rogers was the real life victim of EA Poe's "The Mystery of Marie Roget". Poe knew Rogers as a customer of the tobacco shop where she worked as a sales clerk. Rogers most likely died during an abortion, not her first, btw.
Here’s to Moby Dick, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield and all that Dickensian crap we had to read in school while Sinclair Lewis, Hemingway, and John Dos Passos languished unheard-of. It’s a wonder any of us read voluntarily again.
It's a line I stole from Kirk Douglas
I always thought that Moby Dick is a social disease.
your confusing Moldy Dick with Moby Dick.
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