CR Episode 177: Moby Dick, Part III

Moby Dick: The Lee Shore, by Rockwell Kent
Moby Dick: The Lee Shore, by Rockwell Kent

Download Link: Released on 29 May 2023

The panel discusses chapters 16-25, with a particular attention to characterisation beyond Ishmael and Queequeg–particularly that of Peleg, Bildad, Elijah, and Bulkington–and to the overarching Old Testament Biblical influences upon the narrative.


  1. This summer series has prompted me to pick up a copy of “Moby Dick” and read along. Like many others, I attempted it once and gave up while wading through the whale trivia and shifts in narrative style. I’m happy to discover that it really is a gripping (and humorous) novel. As always, Critical Readings has led me to the best of the best.

    I wonder if you could comment at some point on where “Moby Dick” fits into the genre of American Gothic literature. I’m not well-versed in American lit, being on the chillier side of the 49th parallel, but at times I found myself thinking of Poe and even Lovecraft – especially in the supernatural and monstrous aspects of the white whale.

    (And on a sillier note, I could not help but read some of Ahab’s speeches in the voice of Ricardo Montalban: “…and round perdition’s flames, before I give him up!”)

  2. The namechoices are fascinating. As someone fairly steeped in The Bible reading Ishmaels name for the first time I was like «oh that must be significant». And then the names just rain in. I love how he does that. It’s a little treasure hunt figuring out how each name relates to events in the Old Testament. I think it would be a lot of fun reading (re-reading) this novel over a longer period of time and then simultaneously read the corresponding Bible passages, read the travel books mentioned, find literature on Quakers and so forth. Something I would like to so do next time.

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