What could possibly improve the experience of reading what might be the greatest American novel? Of course you know the answer: more hyperlinks.
New York City-based developer Dan Phiffer is adapting Moby Dick for the Twitter and Snapchat age with a new site that shows only one line of text at a time from the lengthy classic. The Whale is a single-serving website whose only function is to spit out short segments drawn from Melville’s whaling adventure (some whole sentences, some merely dependent clauses). You click on each sentence to move on to the next, resulting in a very slow, deliberate reading experience.
Image Credit: Screenshot via The Whale
With design inspired by journalist Mat Honan’s wry 2008 election-season site Barack Obama Is Your New Bicycle, it was created for a coding class Phiffer is currently teaching. It comes on the heels of another whimsical, Internet-y literary creation: a serialized reinterpretation of Dickens that author Joshua Cohen is writing in front of a live stream this week.
If you really feel ambitious, you could read the whole of Moby Dick sitting at your computer screen, clicking away. Granted, getting through hundreds of pages of maritime minutia can be hard enough when you can skim a page, but The Whale gives you the opportunity to really savor Melville’s literary prowess. Go ahead, we’ll be here to discuss it when you finish in a few years.
Want to make your own? See more info about the process on GitHub.