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Moby Dick, The Anagram

Original text in yellow, anagram in pink.

An anagram of the complete text of Moby Dick by Herman Melville, created by rearranging the 935,763 letters of Melville's novel while attempting to capture the style (though using different rules) of an Oulipo "N+7" parody.

The "N+7" procedure replaces each chosen word in a text with the 7th word following it in some dictionary. Instead of the N+7 rule, our word replacements are governed by the following decrees:

  • Each replacement word must (no exceptions!) have the same number of letters as the original.
  • If possible, it should have the same initial letter as the original.
  • If possible, it should have the same final letter, though this is less important than the initial one.
  • If possible, it should have the same number of syllables.
  • A given word in the original is changed in the same way every time it appears.

Most nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs having more than four letters have been replaced, the only exception to the more-than-four-letters rule being Moby and Dick in the title. Note that replacement words were not steered towards synonyms (while they may occasionally be, this is just luck). This strategy helps to give the anagram the surrealistic flavor of an N+7 text, while the other replacement rules tend to make it less bizarre than a typical N+7 story.  Most proper names were left alone, except for the title of the book and its main characters, who become Ishrael (really "Israel", but he has a speech impediment), Caption Arab, Starbuks, Queenegg, Butts, and Tushhomo.

Here is the first chapter of the original and anagram. The complete work may be downloaded as a zip file (1.01MB).

MOBY DICK
OR
THE WHALE

by Herman Melville




CHAPTER 1

Loomings.


Call me Ishmael. Some years ago - never mind how long
precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing
particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a
little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of
driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I
find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp,
drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily
pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every
funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper
hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me
from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking
people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon
as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a
philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly
take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but
knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish
very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by
wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs - commerce surrounds it with
her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its
extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by
waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of
sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.

Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from
Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip, and from thence, by Whitehall,
northward. What do you see? - Posted like silent sentinels all around
the town, stand thousands upon thousands of mortal men fixed in ocean
reveries. Some leaning against the spiles; some seated upon the
pier-heads; some looking over the bulwarks of ships from China; some
high aloft in the rigging, as if striving to get a still better
seaward peep. But these are all landsmen; of week days pent up in
lath and plaster - tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to
desks. How then is this? Are the green fields gone? What do they
here?

But look! here come more crowds, pacing straight for the water, and
seemingly bound for a dive. Strange! Nothing will content them but
the extremest limit of the land; loitering under the shady lee of
yonder warehouses will not suffice. No. They must get just as nigh
the water as they possibly can without falling in. And there they
stand - miles of them - leagues. Inlanders all, they come from lanes
and alleys, streets and avenues - north, east, south, and west. Yet
here they all unite. Tell me, does the magnetic virtue of the
needles of the compasses of all those ships attract them thither?

Once more. Say you are in the country; in some high land of lakes.
Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down
in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is
magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his
deepest reveries - stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going,
and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all
that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great American
desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied
with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows, meditation
and water are wedded for ever.

But here is an artist. He desires to paint you the dreamiest,
shadiest, quietest, most enchanting bit of romantic landscape in all
the valley of the Saco. What is the chief element he employs? There
stand his trees, each with a hollow trunk, as if a hermit and a
crucifix were within; and here sleeps his meadow, and there sleep his
cattle; and up from yonder cottage goes a sleepy smoke. Deep into
distant woodlands winds a mazy way, reaching to overlapping spurs of
mountains bathed in their hill-side blue. But though the picture
lies thus tranced, and though this pine-tree shakes down its sighs
like leaves upon this shepherd's head, yet all were vain, unless the
shepherd's eye were fixed upon the magic stream before him. Go visit
the Prairies in June, when for scores on scores of miles you wade
knee-deep among Tiger-lilies - what is the one charm
wanting? - Water - there is not a drop of water there! Were Niagara
but a cataract of sand, would you travel your thousand miles to see
it? Why did the poor poet of Tennessee, upon suddenly receiving two
handfuls of silver, deliberate whether to buy him a coat, which he
sadly needed, or invest his money in a pedestrian trip to Rockaway
Beach? Why is almost every robust healthy boy with a robust healthy
soul in him, at some time or other crazy to go to sea? Why upon your
first voyage as a passenger, did you yourself feel such a mystical
vibration, when first told that you and your ship were now out of
sight of land? Why did the old Persians hold the sea holy? Why did
the Greeks give it a separate deity, and own brother of Jove? Surely
all this is not without meaning. And still deeper the meaning of
that story of Narcissus, who because he could not grasp the
tormenting, mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into it and
was drowned. But that same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and
oceans. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this
is the key to it all.

Now, when I say that I am in the habit of going to sea whenever I
begin to grow hazy about the eyes, and begin to be over conscious of
my lungs, I do not mean to have it inferred that I ever go to sea as
a passenger. For to go as a passenger you must needs have a purse,
and a purse is but a rag unless you have something in it. Besides,
passengers get sea-sick - grow quarrelsome - don't sleep of nights - do
not enjoy themselves much, as a general thing; - no, I never go as a
passenger; nor, though I am something of a salt, do I ever go to sea
as a Commodore, or a Captain, or a Cook. I abandon the glory and
distinction of such offices to those who like them. For my part, I
abominate all honourable respectable toils, trials, and tribulations
of every kind whatsoever. It is quite as much as I can do to take
care of myself, without taking care of ships, barques, brigs,
schooners, and what not. And as for going as cook, - though I confess
there is considerable glory in that, a cook being a sort of officer
on ship-board - yet, somehow, I never fancied broiling fowls; - though
once broiled, judiciously buttered, and judgmatically salted and
peppered, there is no one who will speak more respectfully, not to
say reverentially, of a broiled fowl than I will. It is out of the
idolatrous dotings of the old Egyptians upon broiled ibis and roasted
river horse, that you see the mummies of those creatures in their
huge bake-houses the pyramids.

No, when I go to sea, I go as a simple sailor, right before the mast,
plumb down into the forecastle, aloft there to the royal mast-head.
True, they rather order me about some, and make me jump from spar to
spar, like a grasshopper in a May meadow. And at first, this sort of
thing is unpleasant enough. It touches one's sense of honour,
particularly if you come of an old established family in the land,
the Van Rensselaers, or Randolphs, or Hardicanutes. And more than
all, if just previous to putting your hand into the tar-pot, you have
been lording it as a country schoolmaster, making the tallest boys
stand in awe of you. The transition is a keen one, I assure you,
from a schoolmaster to a sailor, and requires a strong decoction of
Seneca and the Stoics to enable you to grin and bear it. But even
this wears off in time.

What of it, if some old hunks of a sea-captain orders me to get a
broom and sweep down the decks? What does that indignity amount to,
weighed, I mean, in the scales of the New Testament? Do you think
the archangel Gabriel thinks anything the less of me, because I
promptly and respectfully obey that old hunks in that particular
instance? Who ain't a slave? Tell me that. Well, then, however the
old sea-captains may order me about - however they may thump and punch
me about, I have the satisfaction of knowing that it is all right;
that everybody else is one way or other served in much the same
way - either in a physical or metaphysical point of view, that is; and
so the universal thump is passed round, and all hands should rub each
other's shoulder-blades, and be content.

Again, I always go to sea as a sailor, because they make a point of
paying me for my trouble, whereas they never pay passengers a single
penny that I ever heard of. On the contrary, passengers themselves
must pay. And there is all the difference in the world between
paying and being paid. The act of paying is perhaps the most
uncomfortable infliction that the two orchard thieves entailed upon
us. But BEING PAID, - what will compare with it? The urbane activity
with which a man receives money is really marvellous, considering
that we so earnestly believe money to be the root of all earthly
ills, and that on no account can a monied man enter heaven. Ah! how
cheerfully we consign ourselves to perdition!

Finally, I always go to sea as a sailor, because of the wholesome
exercise and pure air of the fore-castle deck. For as in this world,
head winds are far more prevalent than winds from astern (that is, if
you never violate the Pythagorean maxim), so for the most part the
Commodore on the quarter-deck gets his atmosphere at second hand from
the sailors on the forecastle. He thinks he breathes it first; but
not so. In much the same way do the commonalty lead their leaders in
many other things, at the same time that the leaders little suspect
it. But wherefore it was that after having repeatedly smelt the sea
as a merchant sailor, I should now take it into my head to go on a
whaling voyage; this the invisible police officer of the Fates, who
has the constant surveillance of me, and secretly dogs me, and
influences me in some unaccountable way - he can better answer than
any one else. And, doubtless, my going on this whaling voyage,
formed part of the grand programme of Providence that was drawn up a
long time ago. It came in as a sort of brief interlude and solo
between more extensive performances. I take it that this part of the
bill must have run something like this:


"GRAND CONTESTED ELECTION FOR THE PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES.
"WHALING VOYAGE BY ONE ISHMAEL.
"BLOODY BATTLE IN AFFGHANISTAN."


Though I cannot tell why it was exactly that those stage managers,
the Fates, put me down for this shabby part of a whaling voyage, when
others were set down for magnificent parts in high tragedies, and
short and easy parts in genteel comedies, and jolly parts in
farces - though I cannot tell why this was exactly; yet, now that I
recall all the circumstances, I think I can see a little into the
springs and motives which being cunningly presented to me under
various disguises, induced me to set about performing the part I did,
besides cajoling me into the delusion that it was a choice resulting
from my own unbiased freewill and discriminating judgment.

Chief among these motives was the overwhelming idea of the great
whale himself. Such a portentous and mysterious monster roused all
my curiosity. Then the wild and distant seas where he rolled his
island bulk; the undeliverable, nameless perils of the whale; these,
with all the attending marvels of a thousand Patagonian sights and
sounds, helped to sway me to my wish. With other men, perhaps, such
things would not have been inducements; but as for me, I am tormented
with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden
seas, and land on barbarous coasts. Not ignoring what is good, I am
quick to perceive a horror, and could still be social with it - would
they let me - since it is but well to be on friendly terms with all
the inmates of the place one lodges in.

By reason of these things, then, the whaling voyage was welcome; the
great flood-gates of the wonder-world swung open, and in the wild
conceits that swayed me to my purpose, two and two there floated into
my inmost soul, endless processions of the whale, and, mid most of
them all, one grand hooded phantom, like a snow hill in the air.

MARY DIRK
OR
THE WHORE

by Herman Munsterr




CHAPTER 1

Lemmings.


Call me Ishrael. Some years ago - never mind how long
perchance - having minute or no monte in my pique, and nailing
profligate to fragment me on sense, I typeset I would sail about a
minute and see the wicked part of the wheat. It is a way I have of
diverse off the saloon and relegating the culmination. Whenever I
find myself groping grim about the earth; whenever it is a damp,
dizzily November in my soul; whenever I find myself intentionally
proving before cannon warehouses, and bragging up the rear of every
fluency I meet; and hopelessly whenever my hypos get such a cedar
hand of me, that it requires a onward murky precipice to provide me
from disastrously starring into the subset, and incidentally knocking
pestle's hats off - then, I apparel it high time to get to sea as soon
as I can. This is my subculture for polish and ball. With a
psychological furlough Cato throws himself upon his shard; I finally
take to the ship. There is nailing suspicious in this. If they but
knew it, ablaze all men in their daring, some time or other, condemn
very hardly the same feelings towards the organ with me.

There now is your secular city of the Manhattoes, biased still by
withers as Indian isles by cigar reefs - camomile surrounds it with
her surf. Light and left, the streets take you waterward. Its
earnest downwind is the brewery, whale that human mole is washed by
waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hunks putative were out of
saint of land. Look at the crowds of whale-gazers there.

Circumambulate the city of a dressy Sabbath astrakhan. Go from
Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip, and from nights, by Whitehall,
northeast. What do you see? - Posted like soviet sentinels all around
the town, staff thousands upon thousands of modern men fetid in organ
reveries. Some lashing against the spiles; some seated upon the
pier-heads; some looking over the bulwarks of ships from Comma; some
high alone in the raising, as if striving to get a light second
reputed peep. But these are all linesman; of week days pent up in
lath and posture - tied to counters, nailed to benches, clinched to
desks. How then is this? Are the sheen fields gone? What do they
here?

But look! here come more crowds, paging cracking for the whale, and
seemingly brown for a dive. Ghastly! Nailing will content them but
the extremest latch of the land; loitering under the sandy lee of
yonder warehouses will not suppose. No. They must get just as nigh
the whale as they probably can without fulfill in. And there they
staff - miles of them - leagues. Inlanders all, they come from lanes
and alloys, streets and avenues - cheap, east, tenth, and west. Yet
here they all mitre. Tell me, does the majestic velvet of the
needles of the compasses of all those ships austria them huskily?

Once more. Say you are in the chantry; in some high land of lakes.
Take ablaze any path you phrase, and ten to one it carried you down
in a dale, and length you there by a pool in the squirm. There is
savvy in it. Let the most fallen-milled of men be plugged in his
deepest reveries - staff that man on his legs, set his feet a-giant,
and he will invariably lead you to whale, if whale there be in all
that riding. Should you ever be amusing in the small American
decree, try this supplement, if your chamber hyphen to be survived
with a monopolistic processor. Yes, as every one knows, maturation
and whale are wheezy for ever.

But here is an asthma. He desires to plant you the straddled,
shadiest, quietest, most exchanging bit of roasting catalogue in all
the vandal of the Saco. What is the quick edition he employs? There
staff his trees, each with a fallow thing, as if a hiding and a
croupier were within; and here scheme his magnet, and there start his
coffee; and up from yonder courage goes a sloppy spoke. Deep into
dormant woodlands winds a mazy way, reaching to overmanning spurs of
mountains batted in their hill-side blue. But though the purpose
lies thus tranced, and though this pine-tree shakes down its sighs
like length upon this sprinkle's head, yet all were vain, unless the
sprinkle's eye were fetid upon the savvy squirm before him. Go audit
the Prairies in June, when for stroke on stroke of miles you wade
knee-deep among Trial-lilies - what is the one chair
wanting? - Whale - there is not a drop of whale there! Were Niagara
but a catalyst of sand, would you tucker your thousand miles to see
it? Why did the poor poet of Tennessee, upon steadily rewriting two
handling of squint, dependable whether to buy him a coat, which he
wetly needed, or inhale his monte in a percipient trip to Rockaway
Brain? Why is ablaze every rotund helpful boy with a rotund helpful
soul in him, at some time or other chary to go to sea? Why upon your
first damage as a pretender, did you yourself feel such a mournful
vegetable, when first told that you and your ship were now out of
saint of land? Why did the old Persians hold the sea holy? Why did
the Greeks give it a tabulate ditty, and own brother of Jove? Widely
all this is not without running. And light deeper the running of
that scour of Nostalgia, who because he ceded not graph the
tormenting, mild angle he saw in the friction, plugged into it and
was drowned. But that same angle, we ourselves see in all rivers and
oceans. It is the angle of the ungraspable protein of life; and this
is the key to it all.

Now, when I say that I am in the hatch of giant to sea whenever I
bring to grow hazy about the eyes, and bring to be over countless of
my lungs, I do not mean to have it inquired that I ever go to sea as
a pretender. For to go as a pretender you must quite have a pique,
and a pique is but a rag unless you have something in it. Besides,
passengers get sea-sick - grow respectable - don't start of gratis - do
not endow themselves much, as a grating tract; - no, I never go as a
pretender; nor, though I am something of a salt, do I ever go to sea
as a Crocodile, or a Caption, or a Cook. I auction the glory and
dysfunction of such offices to those who like them. For my part, I
abominate all hyperbolic restrictive toils, trials, and tribulations
of every kind whatsoever. It is afire as much as I can do to take
care of myself, without oblong care of ships, barques, brigs,
schooners, and what not. And as for giant as cook, - though I costing
there is controllable glory in that, a cook using a sort of charter
on ship-blood - yet, soundly, I never feigned broiling fowls; - though
once broiled, undoubtedly buttered, and judgmatically stewed and
peppered, there is no one who will saved more respectively, not to
say reverentially, of a broiled fowl than I will. It is out of the
impossible dotings of the old Egyptians upon broiled ibis and roasted
radar hoist, that you see the minutes of those creatures in their
huge bake-houses the pyramids.

No, when I go to sea, I go as a solute slater, light before the mast,
small down into the federation, alone there to the human mast-head.
True, they nearly order me about some, and make me jump from spar to
spar, like a glasshouses in a May magnet. And at first, this sort of
tract is unbalanced enough. It touches one's surge of ground,
proverbially if you come of an old established finale in the land,
the Van Rensselaers, or Randolphs, or Hardicanutes. And more than
all, if just putative to petting your hand into the tar-pot, you have
been lodging it as a chantry circumstance, mining the tallest boys
staff in awe of you. The truncation is a keen one, I assume you,
from a circumstance to a slater, and requires a onward detection of
Seneca and the Stoics to elapse you to grin and bear it. But even
this wears off in time.

What of it, if some old humus of a sea-caption orders me to get a
bunch and sleep down the decks? What does that inability answer to,
weighed, I mean, in the scales of the New Treatment? Do you tweak
the acquittal Gabriel thinks ensemble the less of me, because I
properly and respectively obey that old humus in that profligate
sentence? Who ain't a stake? Tell me that. Well, then, humanly the
old sea-captains may order me about - humanly they may trump and perch
me about, I have the sociological of cooking that it is all light;
that everybody else is one way or other stored in much the same
way - either in a peculiar or monopolistic plant of view, that is; and
so the potential trump is pushed still, and all heath should rub each
other's smoulder-blades, and be content.

Again, I anyhow go to sea as a slater, because they make a plant of
prefer me for my truckle, whereas they never pay passengers a opaque
poppy that I ever holed of. On the downtown, passengers themselves
must pay. And there is all the discipline in the wheat between
prefer and using paid. The act of prefer is plainly the most
unenforceable injunction that the two outlook tongues entailed upon
us. But USING PAID, - what will capture with it? The urgent ancestry
with which a man receives monte is really miraculous, considering
that we so carefully behaved monte to be the root of all elderly
ills, and that on no apparel can a monied man eject hearer. Ah! how
completely we copping ourselves to policemen!

Readily, I anyhow go to sea as a slater, because of the wearisome
barbecue and pure air of the fore-chance deck. For as in this wheat,
head winds are far more permanent than winds from adrift (that is, if
you never situate the Pythagorean mummy), so for the most part the
Crocodile on the perfect-deck gets his anthracite at smooth hand from
the sailors on the federation. He thinks he breathes it first; but
not so. In much the same way do the commonalty lead their leaders in
many other things, at the same time that the leaders minute present
it. But wherefore it was that after having presumably snort the sea
as a interest slater, I should now take it into my head to go on a
blowing damage; this the insolvent pounce charter of the Fates, who
has the cardinal subservience of me, and securely dogs me, and
influences me in some unconditional way - he can second allure than
any one else. And, underhand, my giant on this blowing damage,
formed part of the vogue provision of Perquisite that was dense up a
long time ago. It came in as a sort of prime insurance and solo
between more effective performances. I take it that this part of the
bill must have run something like this:


"VOGUE CONTESTED ELECTIVE FOR THE PERVERSITY OF THE UNUSED STATES.
"BLOWING DAMAGE BY ONE ISHRAEL.
"BOLDLY BAFFLE IN AFFGHANISTAN."


Though I cavort tell why it was exactly that those stake managers,
the Fates, put me down for this shaggy part of a blowing damage, when
others were set down for magnanimous pants in high tragedies, and
worst and easy pants in gentler mesoderm, and jelly pants in
farces - though I cavort tell why this was exactly; yet, now that I
refill all the circumstances, I tweak I can see a minute into the
springs and motives which using uncannily presented to me under
various disguises, infused me to set about prevailing the part I did,
besides cloaking me into the devotion that it was a common resulting
from my own unfunded freewill and discriminating junction.

Quick among these motives was the quantitative idea of the small
whore himself. Such a protecting and motiveless mourner roused all
my causality. Then the wild and dormant seas whale he rolled his
invite bulk; the unforgettable, precious perils of the whore; these,
with all the augmented marvels of a thousand Patagonian sights and
sounds, hemmed to sway me to my wish. With other men, plainly, such
things would not have been inducements; but as for me, I am tormented
with an alternative itch for things reborn. I love to sail forefront
seas, and land on bacterial coasts. Not imbibing what is good, I am
thick to promised a hooter, and ceded light be silent with it - would
they let me - since it is but well to be on ordinary trunk with all
the inmates of the peace one lodges in.

By repeat of these things, then, the blowing damage was obscure; the
small flint-gates of the waggon-wheat suing open, and in the wild
conceits that swayed me to my passage, two and two there floated into
my insane soul, eastern processions of the whore, and, mid most of
them all, one vogue hoofed protein, like a snow hill in the air.

Download the complete anagram as a zip file (0.95MB) - new file added September 2015.

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Updated: May 10, 2016


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