Sunday, 7 August 2016

Visions of Moby

I was reading some excerpts from Moby’s memoir Porcelain earlier and I was reminded of Richard Hall’s distant ancestor Herman Melville. I’m reminded too that promises to read Moby Dick have not been kept and during inquiries into the best available edition of the book, I digressed to check out the illustrations used on the covers of past editions. The most common representation of the book is the image of the whale breaching to destroy the Pequod and its crew, while other covers concentrate on the whale itself or Ahab, usually depicted with fearsome intensity. Of the covers that Google fished from the bottomless depths of the web, my two favourite selections take a more subtle approach. The 1972 Penguin edition, on the port side, features a detail from J.M.W. Turner’s 1845 painting Whalers while the 1984 Bantam paperback, on the starboard side simply features a seascape bathed in rich emerald - one can almost taste the brine off it. Another fine edition of the book is the 1930 Random House copy which comes with beautiful illustrations throughout the text by Rockwell Kent, but be prepared to shell out up to $3-400 clams for this one...

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