Immortal Openings, 6: K. L. Evans, Whale!

One question underlies all of Moby Dick: “So what’s eating you?” Many readers of the novel have put this question to its author, coming up with pat explanations of what is called Melville’s pessimism, or madness–even genius–as a response to his father’s breakdown or his poverty or his sexuality or his marriage, instead of asking the question of themselves, which is really what should be asked, and is asked, by Melville, and not rhetorically, What is eating us, what is eating you?

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