Welcome to Whale Weekly: a serialized (but unabridged) version of Moby Dick, delivered to your inbox.
Wish you could take 2 years to finish Moby Dick without feeling bad about it? You’ve come to the right place.
Whale Weekly will begin in November, 2022 and installments will continue for approximately two years in accordance with the passage of time in the novel.
I didn’t get an email this week. What’s up with that?
Whale “Weekly” is a bit of a misnomer. Since we’re attempting to follow the actual pace of events in Moby Dick, some periods will be much more eventful than others. On average, we’re covering a chapter every week or two, but the pace will vary - some weeks you’ll get multiple emails and others you’ll get none.
If you’d like to know exactly when to check your email, you can find a full schedule here.
Moby Dick isn’t epistolary. How do you know the dates corresponding to each chapter?
Short answer: I don’t!
Long answer: While the novel is by no means epistolary and Melville presumably never would have wanted it to be read in this fashion, there are a handful of cues in the text that illustrate the passage of time. The first few chapters are especially detailed in this regard - we’re told the Pequod leaves harbor on Christmas and the narrator is quite specific before that about how many days are going by from one event to the next. For the later chapters, I relied on references to geography and weather to approximate the time of year and did some guesswork to fill in the gaps.
When does it start and end?
The first email will be delivered on November 21, 2022 and the last on September 16, 2024.
Do the emails correspond exactly with the novel as written?
Almost - fear not, the entire unabridged text of the novel will be included (even Etymology and Extracts, for you purists out there), but there are occasional changes to the order of the chapters.
These changes won’t have a significant impact on the experience of reading the novel, but if you’re curious, I’ve placed Chapter 1: Loomings before Etymology and Extracts so we can start off with the iconic “Call me Ishmael” and slightly rearranged chapters 61-68 to get through Stubb’s exciting day of whaling in a more timely manner.
I have SO many thoughts about the whale book. Is there somewhere I can share them?
You’re in luck! The Whale Weekly discord server is a great place to discuss each installment with fellow Moby fans and you can join it right here.
Whale Weekly is a project inspired by Matt Kirkland’s Dracula Daily.