Moby-Dick

by Herman Melville

Random House Publishing Group | November 4, 2003 | Kobo Edition (eBook)

Moby-Dick is rated 4 out of 5 by 3.
Moby-Dick is one of the great epics in all of literature. Captain Ahab's hunt for the white whale drives the narrative at a relentless pace, while Ishmael's meditations on whales and whaling, on the sublime indifference of nature, and on the grimy physical details of the extraction of oil provide a reflective counterpoint to the headlong idolatrous quest. Sometimes read as a terrifying study of monomania or as a critical inquiry into the effects of reducing life to symbols, Moby-Dick also offers colorful and often comic glimpses of life aboard a whaling ship.

For the first time, the authoritative editions of works by American novelists, poets, scholars, and essayists collected in the hardcover volumes of The Library of America are being published singly in a series of handsome paperback books. A distinguished writer has contributed an introduction for each volume, which also includes a chronology of the author's life an essay on the text, and notes.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: November 4, 2003

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0553898108

ISBN - 13: 9780553898101

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic. C'mon, it's Moby Dick,, it's incredible writing and an Amazing story,, just wanted to read it again..
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from It's not only about the whale First published in 1851, Moby Dick is still finding it's way on to recommended reading lists. If you are like I was, you haven't read the book but have seen bits of cartoons and perhaps a movie on tv and think that it's the story of Captain Ahab and his quest to kill the white sperm whale Moby Dick. Well, in part it is, but it's so much more. It is practically an encyclopedia of whale lore such as it was known in the mid nineteenth century. At first I was confused and wondering why Mr. Melville always seemed to be going off on a tangent and losing the thread of the story. Actually, as it turns out, all those tangents are the story. The whale himself, is only a part of the larger picture. One section goes on at length on the taxonomy of whales. While it was somewhat interesting, after ten or fifteen minutes I was starting to lose track of what was going on and how it could possibly pertain to catching that one, white whale. After speaking with a literature student, I learned that this book had been written chapter by chapter and was printed in a weekly paper. Mr. Melville would have been paid by the page, so it was in his best interest to be wordy. I don't know if this is true, but that would explain some of the choices of what to include in the book. There were a few passages that I particularly enjoyed. One of them, chapter 85 discusses the purpose of the blow hole. Considering that this book was written 150 years ago, I felt that the author presented quite detailed information. This was a very lengthy audio book (some 23 hours) and much of it was rather a blur to me. It perked up considerably at the start of hour 22. This moving passage was set the night before the white whale was spotted and the final chase begun and Captain Ahab is on the deck with his first mate. He actually questions whether it is crazy to expend so much effort to capture one whale and whether he should have been spending his time at home with his wife and child. Very insightful. From this passage on, I had finally found the book that I had sought to read. It was exciting and had me hanging on the edge of my seat (so to speak). Would I recommend this book to other readers. For a young reader, no way. Get him or her the new graphic novel that coming out, or a short abridged one. This version would seem like punishment. If you are a purist and like lots of detail, then yes, this could be the book for you. Don't expect to push on through it in a few days, you'll need the time to digest the many different topics that Mr. Melville discusses. If you plan to read the original text, then be sure to visit the Life and Works of Herman Melville website. They have lots of background information there that will help you get the most out of your reading time.
Date published: 2013-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Approaching Melville with Fear and Awe I find the prospect of reviewing this book quite daunting. Melville didn't write a typical novel in Moby Dick, even by his own standards. And reactions to the work are passionate and passionately divided, even to this day. Setting sail in this Melvillian squall is a difficult prospect, but despite my hesitations, I'm going to give it a go and say that, despite it's many technical flaws, Melville's book is the touchstone for American literature, much as Ives' music is the touchstone for American composition. Melville managed to find a voice that was distinctively "New World" and yet also universal enough to speak to the existential questions that have plagued humans since we first turned our heads to the sky to ask "Why". Some things are truly subjective....such as book reactions. The issue with Melville in general is that he is a flawed genius. Moby Dick is not a perfect book in the sense than a Henry James novel might be perfect. It's not even as tight as Dostoevsky...and he's no model of literary tightness. I think when people have trouble with Moby Dick it's because that for them, the flaws outweigh the virtues.... The book is a stylistic hodgepodge, and this is probably exactly what makes it difficult for many readers. It starts out as a plain sailing yarn, much like Melville's earlier Typee or Redburn...or Richard Dana's Three Years Behind the Mast. But then it changes into a philosophical drama with many, many "informative" chapters that can at times read like a whaling primer rather than a novel. And the drama part is one part sea adventure and two parts Shakespeare....add to that a constantly changing philosophical view (God, as personified by Moby Dick and by other things, can be seen in the book as wholly good, Good but permitting evil, evil itself, good but locked in a battle with an equally powerful evil force, or finally completely indifferent to humans.) I think for people who have trouble with the book, if Melville had taken just one of these tacts the book would be much easier to read and less littered with flaws. However....for me at least....I recognize those flaws and find the power in the book despite them...and perhaps even because of them. In a sense to me, Melville was using the Pequod as a symbol for all of the human world, and his radical stylistic inclusiveness IS actually exactly to the point of the book. Everything in humanity is included in the book, as all of human endeavor is essentially an existential quest for meaning in the face of an unknowable God (at least unknowable in any normal human sense)...and we bring everything, warts and all. The character of Ahab can also be a stumbling block for readers. He is clearly monomaniacal, and for many, that singleminded desire for revenge obscures his greater humanity. The key to understanding Ahab though is to realize that he does indeed go through a change in the book. He begins as a man obsessed with revenge to the exclusion of human values....but he is also still capable of commanding love and respect from his crew. Even Starbuck, who most actively opposes Ahab, to some extent still loves the man and when given the opportunity to kill him and save the crew, Starbuck can't bring himself to do so. The tenderness in Ahab is shown in his relations to Pip, the addled cabin boy, but also peaks through briefly in the encounter with the Rachel, where Ahab almost gives into the pleas of the bereaved Captain who has lost his son to Moby Dick, and more fully in the marvelous "Symphony" chapter, where Ahab and Starbuck find a rare moment of communion in the beauty of nature and in their shared love of home and family. But despite all, Ahab can't let go of his quest to grapple with the bigger issue of good and evil that the whale has come to represent to him. It has become a compulsion with him and a fatal one. One suggestion for reading this book is to read the Shakespearean chapters aloud. Much of the nuance in the characters of Starbuck, Ahab and Stubb is lost unless you bring the language to life. Melville's language is grand and was meant to be heard out loud. Another strategy is to view the John Huston film. Though the movie is deeply flawed, hearing Gregory Peck declaim Melville's lines helps to bring the character to more vivid life. A final note on editions of this work. I have several and most of them are pretty equal in terms of the quality of the text. The Modern Library has the added benefit of Rockwell Kent's masterful woodcut illustrations. But to actually read the text I find the Bantam Mass Market edition is my favorite. The introductory note is excellent, and the book is stuffed with afterword material, including Melville's letters to Hawthorne while writing the book, contemporary press reviews of the work, and several excellent modern essays which help with understanding the greater issues behind this deeply moving and important work of American fiction.
Date published: 2013-10-29

– More About This Product –

Moby-Dick

by Herman Melville

Format: Kobo Edition (eBook)

Published: November 4, 2003

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0553898108

ISBN - 13: 9780553898101

From the Publisher

Moby-Dick is one of the great epics in all of literature. Captain Ahab's hunt for the white whale drives the narrative at a relentless pace, while Ishmael's meditations on whales and whaling, on the sublime indifference of nature, and on the grimy physical details of the extraction of oil provide a reflective counterpoint to the headlong idolatrous quest. Sometimes read as a terrifying study of monomania or as a critical inquiry into the effects of reducing life to symbols, Moby-Dick also offers colorful and often comic glimpses of life aboard a whaling ship.

For the first time, the authoritative editions of works by American novelists, poets, scholars, and essayists collected in the hardcover volumes of The Library of America are being published singly in a series of handsome paperback books. A distinguished writer has contributed an introduction for each volume, which also includes a chronology of the author's life an essay on the text, and notes.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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