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Dive Deeper: Journeys with Moby-Dick Paperback – August 1, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0199855759 ISBN-10: 0199855757

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Dive Deeper: Journeys with Moby-Dick + New Essays on Moby-Dick (The American Novel)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (August 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199855757
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199855759
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.7 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,147,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"[An] entertaining companion to Moby-Dick." --Publishers Weekly, selected as a "Pick of the Week"


"Delving beneath the huge cultural shadows cast by Melville's work, Cotkin reveals how many great writers, including Faulkner, Auden, and Masefield, have found inspiration in Melville's novel. Cotkin also scrutinizes cinematic and television adaptions of Melville's book, from the John Barrymore film, The Sea Beast, in 1926 to the Star Trek fantasy, The Wrath of Khan, in 1982. Even the playful treatment given Moby-Dick themes in Peanuts cartoons receives scrutiny! The 135 chapters may drift about as chaotically as the flotsam left when the Great Whale smashes the Pequod, but this flotsam has been pried from the depths, and it will thrill Melvilleans." --Booklist


"The book works so well because it is both serious and seriously entertaining...this new companion is as affable as it is smart." --The Boston Globe


"This is one grand intellectual adventure--an adventure in reading that parallels Ishmael's own astonishing journey. Moby-Dick is, of course, the masterpiece at the center of American Literature. It's a gigantic whale of a novel, and George Cotkin has done a marvelous job of bringing its many glittering aspects before us. I can't imagine a more timely, entertaining, or--indeed--illuminating book." --Jay Parini, author of The Passages of H.M.: A Novel of Herman Melville


"Dive Deeper is a pleasure to read and the truest portrait of Moby-Dick in American life and letters yet produced." --David Dowling, author of Chasing the White Whale: The Moby-Dick Marathon; or What Melville Means Today


About the Author


George Cotkin is Professor of History at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I learned of this new study of Melville's "Moby-Dick", "Dive Deeper: Journeys with Moby-Dick", by George Cotkin, I ordered it immediately. I was in the middle of rereading the novel. With its 135 short chapters each devoted to the corresponding chapter of "Moby-Dick" I thought the book would be useful as a running commentary. I became deeply involved in my rereading of the novel, however, and completed the lengthy book before Cotkin's study arrived in the mail. As it turned out, there was no loss because I had been somewhat mistaken in what I thought was the character of Cotkin's work.

Cotkin, Professor of History at California Polytechnic State University, has written extensively about American culture, including books about William James, American existentialism, and current American moral dilemmas. In "Dive Deeper" he writes simply and with contagious enthusiasm about Melville. In spite of the arrangement of his book to correspond to chapters of Melville, however, his book is far from a direct chapter-by-chapter analysis of the text. Instead, Cotkin's study is broad-ranging, digressive, and suggestive, much like the book it celebrates. It is better read on its own, as I did, rather than as an ongoing commentary to accompany a reading of "Moby-Dick".

The book parallels the arrangement of its subject in that it begins with a Prologue, follows with 135 named chapters, and ends with an Epilogue. The format of each chapter varies. In most cases, Cotkin begins with a paragraph with only the barest summary on what occurs in the corresponding chapter of the novel. Cotkin then uses each chapter as a springboard for a discussion of an aspect of "Moby-Dick" that in many instances is only loosely related to the text at hand.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Lots of commentary on Moby-Dick has been written, but nothing quite like Cotkin's book. He follows the story chapter by chapter, providing fascinating insights along the way. He refers to Melville and his times, historical and literary figures, abundant references to the state of the union in mid-19th-century America, and copious connections to our own day. Camus, Capote, Gary Larson, Bob Dylan, poets, artists, historians - even a rapper - appear to bolster our understanding of the power and humanity of Melville's greatest story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Green on January 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have never read Moby Dick and will most likely never read it. But Dive Deeper gave me an understanding of the book that I never would have expected. Taking the novel, history, pop culture and current events and connecting them to the appropriate chapter in the novel, was a great way to explain and expand on the theories behind the novel. I learned historical facts that I had no idea of, I learned of religious, social, and cultural connections from what is described as "the greatest American Novel"; and how it really does connect to modern society. It is not necessary to read Moby Dick to enjoy Dive Deeper, it is only necessary to read Dive Deeper to see why Moby Dick endures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elie Axelroth on November 21, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm not sure how I missed reading Moby Dick in high school (or later), but George Cotkin's "Diving Deeper" gave me the perfect opportunity to find out, what's the big deal? Reading side by side, I was not disappointed. Not only does "Diving Deeper" provide short summaries of Melville's chapters, but much more. This is a delightful potpourri of history, morality, religious thought, music, film, art, philosophy, and popular culture. Cotkin's breadth of knowledge, humor, and lyrical style is impressive, and I came away with not only an appreciation of Melville's great American novel, but deeper understanding of American history and culture.
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