Kathryn Swegart, author of The Wreck of the Essex, will be presenting “The Real Moby Dick: How One Cantankerous Whale Helped Change the Course of American Literature,” a 45 minute exploration of Herman Melville and his creativity. Those who have never read Moby Dick know the story of Ahab and the white whale; how many readers know that Moby Dick was inspired by an actual incident in Nantucket whaling history? In 1821, an enraged sperm whale attacked and sank the Essex, leaving 21 crew members shipwrecked in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Was there really a white whale? Would a whale turn on a ship and attack with premeditated malice? The writing of Moby Dick is a well-documented example of art imitating life. Melville had an intense burst of creativity, writing his masterpiece in less than a year. By studying Melville, we gain a broader knowledge of the mysterious act of creating a work of art.
This event is free and open to the public; copies of The Wreck of the Essex will be available for purchase from the author for $12.95, cash or check.