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Prefaces

Melville's experiments with form begin with the two short sections that appear before the start of the actual narrative. The first, "Etymology," gives the words for "whale" in various languages, from Greek to "Erromangoan," and credits this information to "a late consumptive usher to a grammar school": one of Melville's first darkly comic lost souls. The second section, "Extracts," is a collection of short quotations from books ranging from the Bible to Hawthorne to Milton to sea-shanties, all referring to whales. These are said to be "supplied by a sub-sub-librarian," eulogized by the author as "a mere painstaking burrower and grub-worm of a poor devil of a Sub-Sub." Melville here prepares us for the stylistic weirdness of the rest of the novel, and begins to present the notion that the whale is obsessively defined by many, but understood by few.

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Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Prefaces
Chapters 1 - 5
Chapters 6 - 10
Chapters 11 - 15
Chapters 16 - 20
Chapters 21 - 25
Chapters 26 - 30
Chapters 31 - 35
Chapters 36 - 40
Chapters 41 - 45
Chapters 46 - 50
Chapters 51 - 55
Chapters 56 - 60
Chapters 61 - 65
Chapters 66 - 70
Chapters 71 - 75
Chapters 76 - 80
Chapters 81 - 85
Chapters 86 - 90
Chapters 91 - 95
Chapters 96 - 100
Chapters 101 - 105
Chapters 106 - 110
Chapters 111 - 115
Chapters 116 - 120
Chapters 121 - 125
Chapters 126 - 130
Chapters 131 - 135
Epilogue



 






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