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The Review of Contemporary Fiction: Special Fiction Issue, Herman Melville's; or The Whale: Summer 2009 (Vol. XXIX) (The Review of Contemporary Fiction)
by:John O'Brien, Damion Searls
The Review of Contemporary Fiction was founded in 1981 to promote a vision of literary culture that is not limited to the immediately popular, and to ensure that important world writers out- side the popular attention continue to be written about and discussed.In 2007, Orion Press put out a series of abridged classics, including Moby-Dick In Half the...
The Review of Contemporary Fiction was founded in 1981 to promote a vision of literary culture that is not limited to the immediately popular, and to ensure that important world writers out- side the popular attention continue to be written about and discussed.In 2007, Orion Press put out a series of abridged classics, including Moby-Dick In Half the Time. Adam Gopnik famously called the Melville abridgment “all Dick, no Moby”—but what actually happens when the work of a writer of texture and digression is cut in the service of clarity and plot? ; or The Whale consists of every chapter, word, and punctuation mark, saved from the abridgers by Damion Searls. Some chapters of ; or The Whale are virtually untouched, while others consist only of a single adverb, or streams of punctuation. The result is beautiful, ridiculous, and gripping—and has a serious point to make about the literary values worth abridging for.
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