“The Quarter-Deck” is one of my very favorite chapters in Moby-Dick, and when I am lecturing on the novel, I frequently devote an entire session to this chapter alone.
Ahab takes the unheard-of step of gathering the entire crew at once in the aft part of the ship — his precinct — and then reveals his true intentions for the voyage of the Pequod, creating a ritual aboard the ship that gets the crew to swear an oath of allegiance to him and his reconceived mission.
Take a look at patell dot org for an extended meditation on why this chapter is so important to the novel.
The chapter is read for us by Cornish author Jon Cleave and illustrated with the photograph Black Fountain by Sarah Pickering. The silver gelatin photograph is presented courtesy of the artist and the Meessen De Clercq Gallery, Brussels.
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