Nov

25

 The movie In the Heart of the Sea about the Essex, as previously mentioned, is coming out on December 11th. Here is a cool article about the film:

"How Nantucket Came to Be the Whaling Capital of the World: Ron Howard's new film "In the Heart of the Sea" captures the greed and blood lust of the Massachusetts island":

And here is author of the book the film is based on, Philbrick, on Nantucket:

Bad weather had thrown off Pollard's lunar navigation. On the night of February 11, 1823, the sea around the ship suddenly churned white as the Two Brothers hurtled against a reef. "The ship struck with a fearful crash, which whirled me head foremost to the other side of the cabin," Nickerson wrote in an eyewitness account he produced some years after the shipwreck. "Captain Pollard seemed to stand amazed at the scene before him." First mate Eben Gardner recalled the final moments: "The sea made it over us and in a few moments the ship was full of water."

Stefan Jovanovich writes: 

Here is a cool report from the NY Times from 1861 about the whale oil business.

Contrary to what the Smithsonian and Mr. Philbrick have written, Nantucket was never the center of the American whaling industry. The trade journal for the industry, the "Whalemen's Shipping List and Merchants' Transcript," began publication in New Bedford in 1843 and was still being printed (as a single broadsheet) when Walter Sheldon Tower's History of the American Whale Fishery was published in 1907. Tower's comment: "New Bedford was a greater whaling port than Nantucket ever was."

FWIW, Melville's adventure sagas - Typee and Omoo - (also freely available both on Kindle and on Google books) are actually a better portrayal of life at sea than Moby Dick, which Melville wrote as an attempt to emulate Homer's prose poem of Ulysses. The American public loved the South Sea tales but they found the great work heavy going. Contrary to the usual biographies, Melville was not heart-broken by his novel's "failure" (sic), only worried because he needed the money. But, then, he got a decent civil service job and went back to his first love - simple poetry - and became the Wallace Stevens of the NY Custom House.

anonymous writes: 

No argument on the ultimate rise of New Bedford over Nantucket, but give them a little credit for being one of the main birthplaces of commercial US whaling.

Relatedly, I finally successfully made it through all of Moby Dick a few months back. Although not much of it came easy, I enjoyed it overall, and actually found parts of it pretty amusing.

I am looking forward to going to the Whaling Museum in New Bedford for the first time as soon as I can squeeze it in. I've heard it's quite nice.


Comments

Name

Email

Website

Speak your mind

2 Comments so far

  1. Mike Kaminsky on December 1, 2015 2:32 pm

    Moby Dick is a Great Classic! Stop by the Whaling Museum in Nantucket Town. Its Pretty Cool. Nantucket’s Wealth is obvious when you visit.

  2. marion ds dreyfus on December 9, 2015 2:41 pm

    In an interview with direcrtor Ron howard, he amiably explained how hard it was to navigate (pun intended) the shoals of filming a lenser with such jagged waves, such an old-fashioned ship, and such a behemoth creature. He admitted he was daunted by the task, as he had never managed such elements before, and found it quite challenging. He ruefully hoped it would make some return, seeming to think it would not, even before it opened.
    This was during the last week of November 2015; Howard is a sweet presence, not in the least arrogant, as are so many directors. He listens to what you say to him, not pre-planning his answers from a template of readymades. He allowed as how his inking to be a director came as a child when he was allowed to hang around and ask questions of everyone during his many years as Andy Griffith’s “son,” Opie.

Archives

Resources & Links

Search