Moby-Dick Marathon

Moby-Dick Marathon

Thank you to our sponsors, volunteers, readers and supporters who made the 18th Annual Moby-Dick Marathon a magnificent success. See you again in 2015!

Moby-Dick Marathon videos are now viewable on Vimeo.

The Moby-Dick Marathon at the New Bedford Whaling Museum is the world’s best known readathon of Herman Melville's literary masterpiece. It is a nonstop reading commemorating the anniversary of the departure of the ship Acushnet from the whaling port of New Bedford with 21-year-old Herman Melville aboard.Our Moby-Dick Marathon is the longest continually running readathon of Herman Melville’s literary masterpiece.

Sponsored by Empire Loan and Rockland Trust

Every year, early in January, a local celebrity figure traditionally kicks-off the reading, beginning with the most famous opening line in American literature, "Call me Ishmael." From the moment those words are uttered to approximately 25 hours later when Ishmael is rescued from the Pacific by the Rachel, more than 150 readers each will have read a short passage from this novel. Some will have read in Portuguese, Japanese, Italian, Danish, Spanish, Hebrew, Russian and/or French, followed by that same passage in English. One passage will have been read from Braille.  The Seamen’s Bethel will have hosted the singing of “The Ribs and Terrors in the Whale” and the reading of Father Mapple’s sermon. At the end, a few hardy souls will have stayed for the whole adventure.

Readers will include professors, fishermen, schoolteachers, students, congressmen, mayors, city councillors, journalists, physicians, clergy, and other lovers of Melville and Moby-Dick.

Saturday, January 4

10:00 a.m. – "Stump the Scholars", Cook Memorial Theater

11:30 a.m. – Moby-Dick “Extracts,” read by the Melville Society, Bourne Building

11:50 a.m. – Welcome, James Russell, President and CEO

12:00 p.m. – Moby-Dick Marathon reading begins, Bourne Building

1:30 p.m. – Chapters 7-9 in the Seamen’s Bethel

2:30 p.m. – Marathon continues in the Jacobs Family Gallery

2:00-3:00 p.m. – Chat with Melville scholars, Wattles Family Gallery

4:00-5:30 p.m. – Chat with Melville artist Peter Michael Martin, Centre Street Gallery

6:00-7:00 p.m. – Conversation with Melville artist Vanessa Hodgkinson, Wattles Gallery

7:00 p.m. – Chapters 35-40 “Midnight, Forecastle” performed by Culture*Park

8:00 p.m. – Marathon continues, Jacobs Family Gallery


Sunday, January 5

9:30-11:00 a.m. – Chat with Melville scholars, Wattles Family Gallery

10:00-11:30 a.m. – Chat with Melville artist Peter Michael Martin, Centre Street Gallery

1:00 p.m. – Marathon finale

1:00 p.m.  – Exhibit opening Martin & Moby, Centre Street Gallery


In addition to the nonstop reading visit Martin & Moby, an exhibition by local artist Peter Michael Martin.

Stay awake for the entire 25 hours and win a prize. 

Moby-Dick 2014 Poster (PDF)

Was there a real Moby Dick?

#MDM18  #HermanMelville  #Readathon

Moby-Dick Marathon 2013

Slideshow of #MDM15

 Click here for the Reading Timetable


Thank you to Empire Loan Charitable Foundation and Rockland Trust for sponsoring this year's event.