Title page of the first edition of :en:Moby-Di...
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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.

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