One of the world’s best known live readings of Herman Melville’s iconic American novel Moby-Dick returns to the New Bedford Whaling Museum on January 4 through 6, 2019.

The 23rd annual Moby-Dick Marathon will draw readers and enthusiasts from around the globe to the Museum’s campus and to the live stream reading online. Obsessive literary aficionados, local school children, and everyone in between will travel back in time to accompany the narrator, Ishmael, on the epic whaling journey and hunt for the elusive white whale. The event is free and open to the public. Full details are available at

The Whaling Museum has marked the anniversary of Melville’s 1841 departure from the Port of New Bedford and Fairhaven aboard the whaleship, Acushnet, with this mid-winter tradition since 1995. Melville would later pen Moby-Dick, publishing the famous novel in 1851.

Moby-Dick Marathon weekend features the main 25-hour readathon—fueled by caffeine, warm local soups, theatrical performances, and a fondness for the author’s artistry—as well as two mini-marathons on January 5: a Portuguese-language reading of Tiago Patricio’s abridged Moby-Dick; and a children’s version by Classic Starts.

The event begins with readers and audience members nestled alongside the world’s largest whaleship model, the Lagoda. Marathoners sit amongst the sails, lines, and whaling tools of the time while experiencing the first chapters. The reading will move through multiple settings in the Museum, as well as the Seamen’s Bethel, made famous by Melville in Moby-Dick as the “Whalemen’s Chapel.” Chapter 7, "The Chapel," is read, appropriately, at the Seamen’s Bethel, where Melville attended a service shortly before he shipped out.

The remainder of the book is read non-stop in a gallery with 180-degree views of the fishing fleet and other vessels lining New Bedford Harbor. The only exception will be Chapter 40, "Midnight Forecastle," which will be performed as a theatrical interpretation in the Museum’s Theater by Culture*Park.

All Saturday and Sunday events are free and open to the public. Guests may come and go as needed through the Museum’s main entrance.

The entire marathon will be live streamed on YouTube and shown non-stop in the Museum’s theater during the reading.

Visit for more information.

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