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Leviathan

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Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год
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      Leviathan
Philip Hoare

This edition does not include illustrations.The story of a man’s obsession with whales, which takes him on a personal, historical and biographical journey – from his childhood to his fascination with Moby-Dick and his excursions whale-watching.All his life, Philip Hoare has been obsessed by whales, from the gigantic skeletons in London’s Natural History Museum to adult encounters with the wild animals themselves. Whales have a mythical quality – they seem to elide with dark fantasies of sea-serpents and antediluvian monsters that swim in our collective unconscious.In ‘Leviathan’, Philip Hoare seeks to locate and identify this obsession. What impelled Melville to write ‘Moby-Dick’? After his book in 1851, no one saw whales in quite the same way again.This book is an investigation into what we know little about – dark, shadowy creatures who swim below the depths, only to surface in a spray of spume. More than the story of the whale, it is also the story of our own obsessions.

LEVIATHAN

or,

The Whale

Philip Hoare

Copyright (#u1bafa794-5FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Fourth Estate

An imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd. 1 London Bridge Street London SE1 9GF

www.harpercollins.co.uk (http://www.harpercollins.co.uk/)

First published in Great Britain in 2008 by Fourth Estate

Copyright © Philip Hoare 2008

Philip Hoare asserts the moral right o be identified as the author of this work

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this ebook on screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins ebooks

HarperColinsPublishers has made every reasonable effort to ensure that any picture content and written content in this ebook has been included or removed in accordance with the contractual and technological constraints in operation at the time of publication

Source ISBN: 9780007230143

Ebook Edition © AUGUST 2009 ISBN: 9780007340910 Version: 2017-01-04

For Theresa

Contents

Title Page (#u1bafa794-2FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Copyright (#u1bafa794-3FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Dedication (#u1bafa794-4FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

Prologue (#u1bafa794-7FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

I Soundings (#u1bafa794-8FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

II The Passage Out (#u1bafa794-9FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

III The Sperm Whale (#u1bafa794-10FF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

IV A Filthy Enactment (#u1bafa794-11FF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

V Far Away Land (#litres_trial_promo)

VI Sealed Orders (#litres_trial_promo)

VII The Divine Magnet (#litres_trial_promo)

VIII Very Like a Whale (#litres_trial_promo)

IX The Correct Use of Whales (#litres_trial_promo)

X The Whiteness of the Whale (#litres_trial_promo)

XI The Melancholy Whale (#litres_trial_promo)

XII A Cold War for the Whale (#litres_trial_promo)

XIII The Whale Watch (#litres_trial_promo)

XIV The Ends of the Earth (#litres_trial_promo)

XV The Chase (#litres_trial_promo)

Keep Reading (#litres_trial_promo)

Bibliography (#litres_trial_promo)

Picture Credits (#litres_trial_promo)

Acknowledgements (#litres_trial_promo)

Index (#litres_trial_promo)

Also by Philip Hoare (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)

There Leviathan, Hugest of living creatures, on the deepStretch’d like a promontory sleeps or swims, And seems a moving land; and at his gills Draws in, and at his breath spouts out a sea.

John Milton, Paradise Lost, quoted in title page to the first, English edition of Moby-Dick

Prologue (#u1bafa794-5FFF-11e9-9e03-0cc47a520474)

For thou didst cast me into the deep,

Into the heart of the seas, And the flood was round about me; All thy waves and billows passed over me.

Jonah 2:3

Perhaps it is because I was nearly born underwater.

A day or so before my mother was due to give birth to me, she and my father visited Portsmouth’s naval dockyard, where they were taken on a tour of a submarine. As she climbed down into its interior, my mother began to feel labour pains. For a moment, it seemed as though I was about to appear below the waterline; but it was back in our Victorian semi-detached house in Southampton, with its servants’ bell-pulls still in place and its dark teak staircase turning on itself, that I was born.

I have always been afraid of deep water. Even bathtime had its terrors for me (although I was by no means a timid child) when I thought of the stories my mother told of her own childhood, and how my grandfather had painted a whale on the outside of their enamel bathtub. It was an image bound up in other childish fears and fascinations, ready to emerge out of the depths like the giant squid in the film of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, with its bug-eyed Nautilus, Kirk Douglas’s tousled blond locks and stripy T-shirt, and its futuristic divers walking the ocean floor as they might stroll along the beach.

I thought, too, of my favourite seaside toy – a grey plastic diver which dangled in the water by a thin red tube through which you blew to make it bob to the surface, trailing little silver bubbles – but which also reminded me of those nineteenth-century explorers enclosed in faceless helmets and rubberized overalls, their feet anchored by lead boots. And in my children’s encyclopædia, I read about the pressurized bathysphere, an iron lung-like cell in which men descended to the Marianas Trench, where translucent angler fish lured their prey with luminous growths suspended in front of their gaping, devilish jaws. I was so scared of these monsters that I couldn’t even touch the pages on which the pictures were printed, and had to turn them by their corners.

Southampton’s municipal swimming baths, with their verdigris roof and glass windows, were a place of public exposure and weekly torture on our school trips there. Ordered to undress, revealing chicken flesh and, on older boys, dark sprouting hair, we shivered in ill-fitting trunks as we stood on wet tiles which, I was told, could harbour all sorts of disease. Padding out into the echoing arena where weak winter sun threw mocking ripples on the ceiling, we lined up to plunge in the shallow end, ordered into the water by our PE master, a wiry-haired man with an imperious whistle on a cord around his neck.

Once in, we were told to hold the hand-rail and kick away with our feet. With my fingertips turning blue with the cold and my tenacious grip, I created enough white water to seem proportionate to my effort, although it was really an endeavour to disguise my ineptitude. Then we took a polystyrene float, crumbling at the edges like stale bread, and were instructed to launch ourselves across. The far side was as unattainable as Australia to me, and the reward for success – a piece of braid to sew on one’s trunks – was a trophy I was as likely to win as an Olympic medal.

I never did learn to swim. The barked instructions, the fear of sinking to the tiled bottom along with the old sticking-plasters and hair-balls, combined to create an unconquerable anxiety. I somehow associated swimming not with pleasure, but with institutions, hospitals, conscription and war, with being ordered to do things I didn’t want to do. At the beach I’d make my excuses when my friends ran into the sea, pretending I had a cold. Throughout my childhood and my teenage years, I lived with this disability; I even came to celebrate it, perversely, as a strength.

It was only later, living alone in London in my mid-twenties, that I decided to teach myself to swim. In the chilly East End pool, built between the wars, I discovered that the water could bear up my body. I realized what I had been missing: the buoyancy of myself. It was not a question of exercise: rather, it was the idea of going out of my depth, allowing something else to take account for my physical presence in the world; being part of it, and apart from it at the same time. In a way, it was a conscious reinvention, a means of confronting my fears.
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