top of page

Online Intensive - Moby Dick
by Herman Melville

Agora Foundation Online Intensives -
Moby Dick by Herman Melville

“Consider the subtleness of the sea; how its most dreaded creatures glide under water, unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of azure..... Consider all this; and then turn to this green, gentle , and most docile earth; consider them both, the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself?”


Moby-Dick or, The Whale was published in 1851 by American writer Herman Melville. The book is the sailor Ishmael's narrative of the quest of Ahab, captain of the whaling ship Pequod, and his revenge against Moby Dick, the giant white sperm whale that on the ship's previous voyage bit off Ahab's leg at the knee. An enthusiast for Melville, British author E. M. Forster, remarked in 1927: "Moby-Dick is full of meanings: its meaning is a different problem." Yet he saw as "the essential" in the book "its prophetic song", which flows "like an undercurrent" beneath the surface action and morality. "Above all", say the scholars Bryant and Springer, Moby-Dick is language: "nautical, biblical, Homeric, Shakespearean, Miltonic, cetological, alliterative, fanciful, colloquial, archaic and unceasingly allusive". Melville stretches grammar, quotes well-known or obscure sources, and swings from calm prose to high rhetoric, technical exposition, seaman's slang, mystic speculation, or wild prophetic archaism. As Ishmael says, "It is not down in any map; true places never are." We invite you to join us as we explore this great American novel over sixteen weekly Tuesday evening online seminars, 5:30-7:00PM Pacific. The Seminar Leader is Elizabeth Reyes of Thomas Aquinas College. Groups will be limited to 12 participants and no prior knowledge is required. Teachers will be offered 3 CEU credits for participation.  


Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Begins August 30 and ends December 20, 2022


Moby Dick by Herman Melville - Penguin (December 2002), ISBN 9780142437247

Dates and Curriculum

1) Session One

Tuesday, August 30

5:30-7:00PM PDT



Chapter 1. Loomings

Chapter 2. The Carpet-Bag

Chapter 3. The Spouter-Inn

Chapter 4. The Counterpane

Chapter 5. Breakfast


2) Session Two

Tuesday, September 6

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Chapter 6. The Street

Chapter 7. The Chapel

Chapter 8. The Pulpit

Chapter 9. The Sermon

Chapter 10. A Bosom Friend

Chapter 11. Nightgown

Chapter 12. Biographical

Chapter 13. Wheelbarrow

Chapter 14. Nantucket

Chapter 15. Chowder


3) Session Three

Tuesday, September 13

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Chapter 16. The Ship

Chapter 17. The Ramadan

Chapter 18. His Mark

Chapter 19. The Prophet

Chapter 20. All Astir

Chapter 21. Going Aboard

Chapter 22. Merry Christmas


4) Session Four

Tuesday, September 20

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Chapter 23. The Lee Shore

Chapter 24. The Advocate

Chapter 25. Postscript

Chapter 26. Knights and Squires

Chapter 27. Knights and Squires

Chapter 28. Ahab

Chapter 29. Enter Ahab; to Him, Stubb

Chapter 30. The Pipe

Chapter 31. Queen Mab


5) Session Five

Tuesday, September 27

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Chapter 32. Cetology

Chapter 33. The Specksnyder

Chapter 34. The Cabin-Table

Chapter 35. The Mast-Head

Chapter 36. The Quarter-Deck

Chapter 37. Sunset


6) Session Six

Tuesday, October 4

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Chapter 38. Dusk

Chapter 39. First Night-Watch

Chapter 40. Midnight, Forecastle

Chapter 41. Moby Dick

Chapter 42. The Whiteness of the Whale

Chapter 43. Hark!

Chapter 44. The Chart


7) Session Seven

Tuesday, October 11

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Chapter 45. The Affidavit

Chapter 46. Surmises

Chapter 47. The Mat-Maker

Chapter 48. The First Lowering

Chapter 49. The Hyena

Chapter 50. Ahab’s Boat and Crew-Fedallah

Chapter 51. The Spirit-Spout

Chapter 52. The Pequod meets the Albatros


8) Session Eight

Tuesday, October 18

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Chapter 53. The Gam

Chapter 54. The Town-Ho’s Story

Chapter 55. Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales

Chapter 56. Of the Less Erroneous Pictures of Whales, and the True Pictures of Whaling Scenes

Chapter 57. Of Whales in Paint; in Teeth; in Wood;          in Sheet-Iron; in Stone; in Mountains; in Stars

Chapter 58. Brit

9) Session Nine

Tuesday, October 25

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Chapter 59. Squid

Chapter 60. The Line

Chapter 61. Stubb Kills a Whale

Chapter 62. The Dart

Chapter 63. The Crotch

Chapter 64. Stubb’s Supper

Chapter 65. The Whale as a Dish

Chapter 66. The Shark Massacre

Chapter 67. Cutting In

Chapter 68. The Blanket

Chapter 69. The Funeral

Chapter 70. The Sphynx

10) Session Ten

Tuesday, November 1

5:30-7:00PM PDT

Chapter 71. The Pequot meets the Jeroboam - Her Story

Chapter 72. The Monkey-Rope

Chapter 73. Stubb and Flask kill a Right Whale;
     and Then Have a Talk over Him

Chapter 74. The Sperm Whale’s Head—Contrasted View

Chapter 75. The Right Whale’s Head—Contrasted View

Chapter 76. The Battering-Ram

Chapter 77. The Great Heidelburgh Tun

Chapter 78. Cistern and Buckets

Chapter 79. The Prairie


11) Session Eleven

Tuesday, November 8

5:30-7:00PM PST

Chapter 80. The Nut

Chapter 81. The Pequod Meets The Virgin

Chapter 82. The Honor and Glory of Whaling

Chapter 83. Jonah Historically Regarded

Chapter 84. Pitchpoling

Chapter 85. The Fountain

Chapter 86. The Tail

Chapter 87. The Grand Armada


12) Session Twelve

Tuesday, November 15

5:30-7:00PM PST

Chapter 88. Schools and Schoolmasters

Chapter 89. Fast-Fish and Loose-Fish

Chapter 90. Heads or Tails

Chapter 91. The Pequod Meets The Rose-Bud

Chapter 92. Ambergris

Chapter 93. The Castaway

Chapter 94. A Squeeze of the Hand

Chapter 95. The Cassock

Chapter 96. The Try-Works

Chapter 97. The Lamp


Tuesday, November 22

Off for Thanksgiving Week

13) Session Thirteen

Tuesday, November 29

5:30-7:00PM PST

Chapter 98. Stowing Down and Clearing Up

Chapter 99. The Doubloon

Chapter 100. Leg and Arm

Chapter 101. The Decanter

Chapter 102. A Bower in the Arsacides

Chapter 103. Measurement of The Whale’s Skeleton

Chapter 104. The Fossil Whale

Chapter 105. Does the Whale’s Magnitude Diminish?—

     Will He Perish?

Chapter 106. Ahab’s Leg


14) Session Fourteen

Tuesday, December 6

5:30-7:00PM PST

Chapter 107. The Carpenter

Chapter 108. Ahab and the Carpenter

Chapter 109. Ahab and Starbuck in the Cabin

Chapter 110. Queequeg in His Coffin

Chapter 111. The Pacific

Chapter 112. The Blacksmith

Chapter 113. The Forge

Chapter 114. The Gilder

Chapter 115. The Pequod Meets The Bachelor

Chapter 116. The Dying Whale

Chapter 117. The Whale Watch

Chapter 118. The Quadrant


15) Session Fifteen

Tuesday, December 13

5:30-7:00PM PST

Chapter 119. The Candles

Chapter 120. The Deck Towards the End of the First Night Watch

Chapter 121. Midnight.—The Forecastle Bulwarks

Chapter 122. Midnight Aloft.—Thunder and Lightning

Chapter 123. The Musket

Chapter 124. The Needle

Chapter 125. The Log and Line

Chapter 126. The Life-Buoy

Chapter 127. The Deck

Chapter 128. The Pequod Meets The Rachel

Chapter 129. The Cabin

Chapter 130. The Hat


16) Session Sixteen

Tuesday, December 20

5:30-7:00PM PST

Chapter 131. The Pequod Meets The Delight

Chapter 132. The Symphony

Chapter 133. The Chase—First Day

Chapter 134. The Chase—Second Day

Chapter 135. The Chase.—Third Day


bottom of page