LONDON Copyright by Charles Olson I wish to acknowledge the grant of a . It 6 Call me Ishmael became the duty of Charles Ramsdale, also of . I am interested in a Melville who was long-eyed enough Call me Ishmael 1 3 to. If Cormac McCarthy were to write a critical study of Moby Dick, it would probably look something like Call Me Ishmael. American poet Charles. January 25, In the early s, while writing his Master’s thesis on Melville, Charles Olson began tracking down the books once owned.

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It’s all here, though in brief: Within a matter of days after it was written July 18 ff.

Call Me Ishmael by Charles Olson

In the Mosses piece, a year and a half later, he gives it olsonn In Moby- Dick the use is pervasive. The book was giving Melville trouble. He is the crew’s heart, the sign of their paternity, the human thing.

The rest of the time the sea flowed over the spring to the depth of six feet. He bends its re- sources to his will. Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me. I do not baptize thee in the name of the father, but in the name of the devil. What he sees on the cliff is, quick, his, life: Aug 21, Meg rated it it was amazing.

Charles Olson: Call Me Ishmael

To breathe they come to charlea sur- face about every half hour. The money and the glory came later, on top with the exploiters. Ishmael and Queequeg are as “married” as Aufidius feels toward Coriolanus: They might have been created with the Creation.

He tells you what he knows to be true. They occur in an article he did for Duyckinck’s magazine. It is the only master of space the average person ever knows, oxwheel to piston, muscle to jet. He lost Jack Chase, and Hawthorne, shyest grape, hid from him. The American Elizabethan ends by agreeing with a Maurice de Guerin: Oh, lonely death on lonely life! Properties are used for precise theater effect. It refers to this passage of Cervantes: They made another fire to cook charlles to prevent its being wholly lost.


Though Olson’s pioneering account of what Melville took from Shakespeare remains instructive, I found his book as o,son whole less remarkable the second time around. Lists with This Book. So naturally this was the first thing I read when the books arrived. The change in the wording from the notes to the novel is of extreme significance.

Full text of “Call me Ishmael.”

He did his work clean. The germinous seeds Hawthorne has dropped in Mel- ville’s July soil begin to grow: Melville likens the effect to “that which in Genesis attends upon the beginning of things.

Porphyry wrote that the generation of images in the mind is from water. And his own force to resolve the forces. I somehow cling to the strange fancy, that, in all men hiddenly reside certain wondrous, occult properties —as in some plants and minerals— which by isshmael happy but very rare accident as bronze was discov- ered by the melting of the iron ishmel brass at the burning of Corinth may chance to be called forth here on earth.

In exactly what way O,son, furious and without fear, re- olsom the instrument of his reason as a lance to fight the White Whale is a central concern of Melville’s in Moby- Dick. The fulcrum of America is the plains, half sea half land, a high sun as metal and obdurate as the iron horizon, and a man’s job to square the circle. Through such dark ms Shakespeare craftily says, or sometimes oslon the things which we feel to be so terrifically true, that it were all but madness for any good olsn, in his own proper char- acter, to utter or even hint of them!


Not man but all the hidden forces that terrorize man is assailed by the American Timon. It arises from what Melville takes to be an “American” advantage: But the Declaration of Independence makes a difference. They must needs have been terrible inventors, those Egyp- tian wise men. The night of the candles, when lightning turns his masts to tapers, Ahab seizes the conductor chains of his ship. Learn how your comment data is processed. Whitman we have called our greatest voice because he gave us hope.

Melville isolates Ahab in “a Grand-Lama-like exclusive- ness. I did notice this. The prophet Elijah told Ishmael that Ahab lay in a trance like dead for three days and nights off Cape Horn. Crowded overhead with stone arches, with side openings. Olson is listed as an influence on artists including Carolee Schneemann and James Tenney.

In the Captain’s boat now alone on the sea, four men kept on. There seems no doubt he brought back from the South Seas a number of shames, social shames to add to earlier ones reaching back to his father’s sins and failures.

A whaleship reminded Melville of two things: It ishnael been said in panegyric of some extraordi- nary works of man, that they affect the imagination like the chatles of Nature. After a month of the open sea they were gladdened by the sight of a small island which they took to be Ducie but was Elizabeth Isle. Post was not sent – check your email addresses!