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A whale of a debate over 'Moby Dick'

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Please, spare us any more giant mammal jokes! Here in Massachusetts we've had to listen to every possible commentator refer to it as a "whale of a debate," but, after a lively discussion in our state House of Representatives we are now a step closer to having a new "official state epic novel."

That would be "Moby Dick", Herman Melville's 1851 classic.

Rep. Christopher Speranzo of Pittsfield, Mass., (where "Moby Dick" was written) had originally proposed making Melville's masterpiece the official state book.

But Massachusetts has too rich a literary heritage to bestow such a title on any one work.

“What about Louisa May Alcott? What about (Nathaniel) Hawthorne? How am I going to face my constituents?” asked Rep. Cory Atkins of Concord, a district that, she pointed out, has "more authors per square mile than any other."

A compromise was finally worked out proclaiming "Moby Dick" the state's epic novel.

The bill has yet to pass through the Senate and get the governor's signature.

Some Massachusetts residents called the debate over the book frivolous, but others appreciated the fact that it focused on the cultural richness of the Bay State.

At least one pointed out that it gave everyone a brief respite from worrying about the dimming fortunes of the Red Sox and Patriots.


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