Moby-Dick doesn’t have much plot to speak of; in 500–plus pages, the action can be reduced to a one- or two-page synopsis without leaving out anything vital…The book as a whole is aimed at some “ungraspable phantom of life,” is obsessed with the inscrutable depths of the sea—surely an allusion to the mysteries of the soul or psyche (choose your spin)—with the inexplicable lure of the color white, with the undefinable symbol of the whale, “be he agent or principle.” And then there’s the friendship between Queequeg and Ishmael to infuse Melville’s metaphysics with something warm-blooded, an emotional handhold for the reader. No, plot doesn’t figure in as one of the things that make this book memorable. Rather it provides a loose framework for the things that make the book hard to forget.
keep paying attention, keep feeling something,
keep talking, keep learning how people acquire
power. Or just keep clicking around. In Bermuda,
an authoritarian from England links
to a grammar stickler from Lesotho.
NER gratefully acknowledges its 2011 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for helping the magazine enhance its web content and design through this site. The new site represents more than a design upgrade and a technological improvement through its use of RSS-enabled posts and other content-sharing features. (NER would like to thank Middlebury College’s Curricular Technologist, Alex Chapin, for his technological assistance and advice in building this site.) In this space, NER will be posting regular links to new poetry, fiction, and nonfiction from NER’s current issue and classic works from previous issues, as well as recommending links to features from other literary web sites. NER Digital, a forthcoming feature, is planned to showcase original and innovative writing for the web. Our new Audio Highlights section will feature readings from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, which, like NER, makes its home at Middlebury College. NER is part of a vibrant community of arts and humanities at Middlebury, which has provided critical and generous support for the magazine since 1987.
If you are a NER contributor with good news to share, an NER author who would like to contribute original writing to NER Digital, an editor at a literary site with a link to an intriguing project, or a member of an organization or department at Middlebury that would like to share web content related to literature, arts, or digital culture, please contact web editor J. M. Tyree.