Alternate Openings for “Moby Dick”


Melville toyed with these choices before deciding on the iconic opening sentence for his whaling epic.

  • “My name is Ishmael, and I’ll be your narrator this evening.”
  • “Call me Ishmashizzle.”
  • “I’m Popeye the Whaler Man.”
  • “Call me Ishmael #Pequod #captain’s maniacal rage against the indifference of the universe #tickle fights below deck.”
  • “Jesus, that was one pissed-off whale.”
  • “You can call me Ishmael or you can call me Shmishmael.”
  • “I can’t say the title of this book without giggling.”
  • “Call me Ishmael, and not ‘Itch-mael’, which is the stupid nickname Queequeg hung on me, even though he wouldn’t recognize proper hygiene if it harpooned him in the ass.”
  • “Call me Ishmael, or not; it makes me no never mind.”
  • “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a whale.”

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