Students Will Camp Out for Reading of “Moby Dick”

For a group of Wake Forest University students, a caldron of clam chowder and a blustery night are the perfect ingredients for a marathon reading of “Moby Dick.”

Students will spend the weekend camping out and taking turns reading aloud the 470-page novel until it is finished. Members of the faculty and administration have been invited to read, as well.

The public also is invited to the reading.

University President Thomas K. Hearn Jr. will read the novel’s first chapter at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 25. The reading will take place outside Wait Chapel on University Plaza. If it rains, the reading will be moved to Carswell Hall.

English instructor Ralph Black, who organized the event, estimates it will take about 22 to 23 hours to read Herman Melville’s 1851 classic.

Black introduced the idea to his American literature students on the first day of class. Since then, the students have studied the novel and will play a large role in the reading.

“I wanted students to think about the tradition of literature being alive and well,” Black said. “Moby Dick is lyric poetry at its best and it is best to experience the story read aloud.”

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