show episodes
 
“Call me Ishmael” is one of the most famous opening lines in American literature. With these words, opens one of the strangest and most gripping stories ever written about the sea and sea-faring. Moby Dick by Herman Melville is today considered one of the greatest novels written in America but paradoxically, it was a miserable failure when it first made its debut in 1851. Entitled Moby Dick or The Whale the book finally got its due after the author's death and is now regarded as a classic po ...
 
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show series
 
Prefacing this episode is Talia's prank call to the Trump Voter Fraud hotline. This episode Talia talks to the lovely, gentle-voiced and brilliant Lili Loofbourow, a staff writer at Slate, about THE FIRST TIME WE ENCOUNTER SOME REAL LIFE WHALES in the book and the racially fraught introduction of Ahab's mysterious, hitherto hidden companions, Fedal…
 
Talia talks with Sarah Marshall, of the "You're Wrong About" and "Why Are Dads" podcasts, about 2 odd marooned mid-40s chapters of the book. It's Sarah's first experience with the book and we debunk some myths about Ahab -- as well as conveying that he's the ultimate Bad Dad of the Sea. "Man and whale must go down together, like Sherlock Holmes and…
 
Talia talks to Justin Scheck (@ScheckWSJ) about a short chapter and a longer chapter, which are also a comical chapter and a profound chapter. In "Hark!" we see a bit more of daily life on the Pequod, while "The Chart" attempts to map Ahab's madness. Justin Scheck is a Wall Street Journal reporter and author of the recent book "Blood and Oil," whic…
 
Talia talks to vaunted Melville scholar Christopher Freeburg about an infamous, complex and fascinating episode, "The Whiteness of the Whale." We discuss the meaning of whiteness, filled with both sinister and holy connotations. Has the author/protagonist line completely blurred? Is Ishmael going slightly insane? What does whiteness mean? Also, che…
 
Talia talks to James Beard Award nominated writer Rax King about Chapter 41, "Moby Dick." It's an encapsulation of the book in miniature: we talk about the feared whale himself, introduced to our antagonist at last; about the madness of Ahab; about the whaling industry; about sperm whales as the great terrors of the sea. With many thanks to produce…
 
A RADIO PLAY. First, Talia talks to Akela Lacy, reporter at the Intercept, about the strange, drunken dream of this chapter; its racialized elements; and the feelings of Pip, the Black cabin-boy, about being alone on a ship of white madmen, threatening to knife each other. In the second half, produced painstakingly by Ilana Weinstein, we have the f…
 
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