Sunday, May 15, 2005

"The Lightning-Rod Man" by Herman Melville

In the middle of a raging thunderstorm, a salesman knocks at the door with fearsome warnings of what might happen without a you-guessed-what. This short story could shock you! Herman Melville was originally paid $18 for it, though you might agree that it's worth at least twenty (and here it is for you--free!). Read by Jonathan Strong.

Oh, dear--where to begin with Mr. Melville? Surely you know Moby Dick even if you haven't taken the time to read it, and you might have read "Barteby the Scrivener" or perhaps Billy Budd (or seen the play or movie or Benjamin Britten and E. M. Forster's opera). And the more astute among you may know his South Seas novels or even his poetry. Certainly one of the most interesting and complex writers America has ever produced, Melville was a former cabin boy who once lived among real cannibals and later hobnobbed with Boston Brahmins (we'll leave it to you to decide who ate their own with most vigor). He had enough sense later in life to become a farmer.

Jonathan Strong's recent revision of his second novel, Ourselves, is still available.


mtte. said...

"There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is the true method..." and if your methods are anything like mine, you'll agree that this is no doubt one such enterprise. Am green with envy that I didn't think of this one first, but simultaneously grateful that I get to sit back and listen to it... very well done!

Scoot said...

We are so happy to please you and any other of our listeners! But, of course, it is our fine authors who we should commend first. Thanks for the comment!