- Paperback: 608 pages
- Publisher: William Collins (9 May 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007925565
- ISBN-13: 978-0007925568
- Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 4.5 x 11.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Moby Dick (Collins Classics) Paperback – 9 May 2013
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Arguably Herman Melville's greatest work, and hailed as a classic American novel, Moby Dick tells the tale of one man's fatal obsession and his willingness to sacrifice his life and that of his crew to achieve his goal. The story follows the fortunes of Captain Ahab and the culturally and spiritually diverse crew of the Pequod, a 19th century whaling ship. The Pequod is on its last voyage out of New Bedford, Mass, in pursuit of Moby Dick, the great white whale which has been Ahab's obsessional quarry and bitter adversary for many years. Narrated by sole survivor Ishmael, the tale forms a complex fictional fusion, combining a wealth of literary symbolism, hidden meaning and philosophical debate with adventure narrative and a detailed historical account of the 19th century whaling trade. --Emily Lowson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
" Responsive to the shaping forces of his age as only men of passionate imagination are, even Melville can hardly have been fully aware of how symbolical an American hero he had fashioned in Ahab."
--F. O. Matthiessen --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
What makes Moby Dick literature rather than a mere adventure story is that it can and has been read at so many more levels. To me it reads like an allegory about America itself in the early 1850s, when the young nation founded on Enlightenment ideas was already creaking under the weight of its own contradictions.
The ship's crew is a microcosm of the US; much as the American ship of state was led by whites while most of the back-breaking work was done by slaves, the whaler hunting Moby Dick has white officers commanding a crew in which the most dangerous and physical jobs are performed by a group of harpooners comprising a black, an Asian, a Pacific Islander and a native American. The white captain, Ahab, leads this crew in the pursuit of the biggest beast in the ocean, in the same way that the white leaders of multicultural America had been chasing their own leviathan, the creation of a continental empire stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific.Read more ›
Hard to credit that its publication (in 1851) created barely a stir: after a couple of well received earlier sea-stories, Melville's "Moby-Dick" received poor reviews (initially in England, where it was first published), sold poorly, and was virtually unknown until long after Melville's death. Then, after the end of the first World War, Melville and his work were rediscovered; the revival of his work in the 1920s led to "Moby-Dick" becoming recognized as the towering achievement it is, a compelling story of obsession and revenge, one of the greatest American novels of all time.
This edition, well formatted and with excellent period illustrations, is one that I'll want to keep so I can re-read it from time to time.
I was one of these people and having now read it, I can say that that's a pretty succinct summary of the book. That said, there are lots of moments in the book I wasn't aware of and was surprised to discover in reading it.
First off, I approached this book knowing most of the characters and the general story already so it was great to read the most famous opening lines in literature - "Call me Ishmael" - and to be introduced to the familiar cast of characters I'd never met before. From Ishmael to Queequeg, to Starbuck, the Pequod and Ahab, I found it thrilling to meet them one by one and to find subtleties in their characters that you won't know unless you read the book.
But I was surprised at how gay (as in homosexual) the novel is. The first 100 pages takes place in Nantucket where Ishmael hasn't signed up to the Pequod yet and is waiting around for a commission. He takes a room in an overbooked inn agreeing to share the bed with a "savage" called Queequeg. Not that sharing a bed with a man is gay exactly but Ishmael and Queequeg quickly become fast friends, looking forward to bed time where they touch knees and noses and tell each other secrets (really). Ishmael even says on more than one occasion that he feels "married" to Queequeg and comforted by waking up with his arms around him.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
the story was griping reader was very effective quality very goodPublished 2 months ago by eileenbriggs
Arrived in good time, satisfied with purchase. My only problem is with the book itself, which I hated.Published 2 months ago by Aralinya
I really enjoy stories like this one it keeps you on the edge of your seat I would tell any of my friends to read itPublished 5 months ago by Mr T.Archer