This is the stuff that gets me out of bed in the mornings. Orion books has recently launched a series where the classics are pared down because most people do not have the time to read the originals. Moby Dick in one such classic. I have never read the actual thing because it was too cumbersome, but everytime I have read – *ahem* been required to read – portions I have really enjoyed it. Now half the book is gone, and it was excised with a sensitivty to preserving its characters, storyline and the historical setting of the storyline.
The journal Review of Contemporary Fiction has published what was taken out in a special issue (Summer 2009). That book is cheekily called ; or the Whale. That’s brilliant. I was curious so I looked through it and managed to waste nearly a complete day. I feel good about it too!
Chapter 62 of ; or the Whale is a word: “hapless”. One word? They cut out a single word from a whole chapter? The remainder of the book is also really interesting. It reads like a victim of a Burrough’s cutting. Now I cannot help but look around my booksheleves and wonder what other gems are awaiting discovery. The obvious text is the Bible, although I worry I might discard the whole thing, but what then to call the new text? This is all too Glas-y. Glas? What might that text render? Obviously one would have keep portions of the letter and portions of Husserl.
All in all I have found myself a new distraction. Now if only someone could help me find a mapping website that will tell me exactly how far away from Russia’s closest point a place in Washington state is. Or Hawaii. Don’t ask.