Tag Archives: Herman Mellville

Ishmael the Tattooed

From “A Bower in the Arsacides,” a late chapter in Herman Mellville’s Moby Dick:

The skeleton dimensions I shall now proceed to set down are copied verbatim from my right arm, where I had them tattooed; as in my wild wanderings at that period, there was no other secure way of preserving such valuable statistics. But as I was crowded for space, and wished the other parts of my body to remain a blank page for a poem I was then composing–at least, what untattooed parts might remain–I did not trouble myself with the odd inches; nor, indeed, should inches at all enter into a congenial admeasurement of the whale.

Moby Dick by Herman Mellville

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