Thursday, December 07, 2006

Things I had known but forgotten

Moby-Dick was probably inspired by real events.
There were two factual occurrences that almost certainly inspired Melville's tale. One was the sinking of the Nantucketwhaling ship Essex, which foundered in 1820 after it was attacked by an 80-ton sperm whale 2,000 miles (3,700 km) from the western coast of South America. First mate Owen Chase, one of eight survivors, recorded the events as the Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex..

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