Moby Dick

Why Do We Still Read ‘Moby-Dick’? Melville Fans on Why It Remains Relevant

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Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, by Herman Melville was published in 1851. In fact, today, November 14, marks the 163rd anniversary of the novel’s first U.S. printing. It was not a blockbuster at first glance; in fact, it was out of print by the time that Melville passed away in 1891, with only about 3200 copies sold during his lifetime. It was, by any account, a literary failure.
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Mouth-Watering Photos of Literature’s Most Famous Meals

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When Dinah Fried’s Fictitious Dishes were first posted in June 2012, they caused an online stir, and that was no surprise. She styled, prepared, and shot elaborate recreations of some of the most iconic meals in literature, from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo‘s open-faced sandwiches, or smørrebrød, to Proust and Swann and his very famous madeleines. You can find these charming images and many more in the new book Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature’s Most Memorable Meals, which features Fried’s photos, mouth-watering excerpts from the greatest meals in literature, and trivia. Here’s a selection of three meals, from Alice in Wonderland, Moby Dick, and The Great Gatsby.
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10 Famous Works of Literature With Queer Subtexts

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Yesterday at Salon, Caleb Crain, author of the highly praised novel Necessary Errors, talked a bit about being a gay novelist and the effects non-heterosexual subject matter has on the chances for a novel’s publication. In response to a question about needing a “gay canon” of literature, Crain said, “The straight canon is very gay… I don’t read somebody because they’re a gay writer. I read them because they’re a good writer.” It’s true that it seems silly and reductive to insist on setting gay writers apart from their straight cohort (although doing so can help raise awareness that they do, in fact, exist), especially since there’s enough queer subtext in popular literature already. Just have a look at these ten obvious examples. 
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10 Books That Sum Up The Contradictions of American Life

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As we head towards the 237th birthday of the United States of America, last week’s news cycle and various political discussions have given us a whole new set of reasons to ponder the many contradictions that make our country the great and beautiful mess that it is. From high unemployment numbers to rampant violence to politicians arguing over our personal freedoms, there is more than enough to remind us how strange of a place America can be. While the jury is still out over whether the Great American Novel has been written or will be written, there are plenty of other books that can help us attempt to navigate through the weirdness that is …Read More

Contemporary Artists’ Portraits of Famous Literary Characters

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If you’re an avid reader, you know that the best literary characters seldom stay on the page, but rather climb out and wander around, manifesting themselves in whatever medium they can insinuate themselves into. To that end, San Francisco’s Modern Eden Gallery has put together a bookish group exhibition called Fiction, featuring portraits of famous literary characters from Ahab to Lisbeth, which is on view through July 13. Check out some of the best pieces from the show after the jump, and then be sure to head on over to the gallery’s website to see more from the exhibit.
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