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Moby Dick (Wordsworth Classics)

Moby Dick (Wordsworth Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Herman Melville
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

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


"Historically, the two great typographical edifices of West Coast printing are the Grabhorn "Leaves of Grass and the Nash "Divine Comedy. Now the Arion Press "Moby Dick takes its place beside them. . .It is the textual weft of hand composition that forms the chief glory of this work. Hoyem seems to have found the perfect measure to accommodate text to type. We turn page after page of matchless composition. . .as the magical result. I would venture the opinion that this constitutes a feat of modern craftsmanship unexcelled in modern printing." --"Fine Print

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1035 KB
  • Print Length: 398 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1434102629
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions (1 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #251,870 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Herman Melville was 31 years old when he started writing The Whale in New York during February 1850. He left the sea in 1844 to become a writer and had drawn on his experience as a seaman in many of his successful works. By 1851 the only part of his years at sea which he had not drawn on for fictional purposes was his experience on a whaling ship Acushnet in 1841-2. It is almost as if he had intuited that this area of his life would yield the richest returns only when his imagination was ready to appropriate all its possibilities and explore them to their further riches. The most important event during the seventeen months in which Melville was writing his novel was his meeting with Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1850. This meeting had a profound effect on Melville. Moby Dick is dedicated to Hawthorne. Melville died, in obscurity, in 1891.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book needs to be longer! 24 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I would like to believe that Melville was years (maybe centuries) ahead of his time, but more than likely he was just plain nuts, apparently stalking Hawthorne and who knows what else. This shouldn't stop you from enjoying the fun though! In MD we basically have two ideas going on, with Ahab's whole monomaniac pursuit of the whale bookending hundreds of pages that essentially capture Ishmael's (sun)baked thoughts during his three years or so on board the Pequid. This middle section will either bore and repel the reader, or suck them in, resembling some post modern-ish films like Satyricon, or perhaps the writings of some lost beat author. This middle section is a detailed narrative of every thought that strikes Ishmael's mind as he is immersed in what must be a remarkably dull setting. So instead, his mind wanders, seeing analogies in every bit of rope and whale tissue to the relationship between man and God, man and nature, man in society, etc. The idea is so absurd and executed so bombastically that it works. Had the man he dedicated this book to (Nathaniel Hawthorne) wrote MD instead, it would have been awful, but Melville can write about Ahab's pipe with enthusiasm, and put that very same pipe into a mythic perspective! Of the outer story, what is there left to say? Only an American author could take the standard tragedy of man bested by the fates and turn it into man bested by the fates/decides to hunt down and kill God! An absolutely fantastic and unforgettable book, but I would have enjoyed more ramblings from Ishmael. I'm serious!!!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gold mine for the imagination 15 May 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Savor this book like a rich dessert. Read it slowly, like poetry. An epic tragedy that is either loved or loathed, it may speak best to those who have known obsession, those who divine the many biblical allusions scattered through the pages and those who have an ear for the dated cadences of 19th Century prose.
The reader can't help but be awed by the maniacal Captain Ahab, who challenges God and nature, casts away all navigational aids, forges his own compass and ultimately relies only on his own cunning and instinct to search the untracked seas for the one thing in the world that consumes him, the White Whale.
The imagery is rich. At one point Melville describes a deathly still sea as a great magnifying glass and the sun overhead as the searing point of light gathered and focused by that glass.
A gold mine for the imagination, this book can be read once as a tragic quest, once as a work of poetry and once again as a huge metaphor or allegory. This book is like a deep pool that reflects back whatever is lurking in the reader's heart. Beware and enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moby Dick:an interactive book 7 May 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Well, so I had to read (in English, a foreing language for me!) a book which lasted for more than eight hundred pages. Slightly scary, I may say, especially when the average number of books this year were 13. Well, indeed some parts of the novel are simply delightful. Any reference to the cultural clash with Queequeg, or any description of the landscape, the sea, the people, were delightful. And then, in the middle -yes, encyclopaedia entries. "It's a bit misleading,Mr. Melville, what the h. do you want?". Until I had to revise it for an essay. The thing is, take all that "flat passages" again. Think of the Pequod's fate. Does it ring a bell? Ishmael, as a Cassandra, spents half the book prophetizing what will happen, and nobody seems to listen. When you read it twice, Moby Dick is simply one of the best metaphors of life. If only it weren't so tiresome...
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51 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A constant companion 6 Jan 2007
By Didier TOP 500 REVIEWER
I read Moby-Dick for the first time when I was about 18, and have re-read it at least three or four times since. It is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most impressive books in Western literature, about ever so much more than the mere chase for a white whale.

It's about friendship, love, hubris, passion, the search for the meaning of life, etc. etc. Longwinded at times? Yes, definitely. Obscure? That too. Unless you're intimately acquainted with the Old Testament, Shakespeare, classical Greek drama and just about everything else in Western art it's a good idea to buy an edition that comes with ample footnotes.

But if you then take the time and effort this book deserves, it might very well be a life-changing experience as it was for me, that will sometimes make you stop and think for years afterwards.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I had long put off reading Moby Dick following a first, unsuccessful attempt as a teenager and mixed feedback from others who have tried. So I approached it again with some trepidation and much respect. It is a difficult novel in some regards. The language and style are antiquated, and the flow of the story is frequently interrupted by didactic chapters on the art of whaling, the anatomy of the whale and whaling in art. In spite of this, Melville tells a great story about pre-industrial whale-hunting in which the hunters rowed right up to the jaws of the monster to plant a harpoon in its side and fight the thrashing beast for its life, surely one of the most adventurous and daring professions ever undertaken.

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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Not arrived yet
Not njdjdj
Published 13 hours ago by Amr Fouad
5.0 out of 5 stars Moby Dick - Herman Melville
(Why insert a hyphen into the title when the name of the whale in the book doesn't have one? Truly escapes me...)

Anyway, moving on. Read more
Published 4 months ago by RachelWalker
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
I decided to try to reread this after giving up when I was a child. I enjoy reading but this was so slow moving. Read more
Published 6 months ago by audrey shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, and for good reason.
As Melville tells this story he casts a spell. It's a gripping tale and he creates rich atmosphere with efficient, simple prose. Read more
Published 6 months ago by elzG40
5.0 out of 5 stars Strangely compelling
Not much story but the descriptions of life on a ship, a whaler and the psychology of Ahab are really interesting.
Published 11 months ago by Colin Jackson
4.0 out of 5 stars One of 50 books to read
This is wonderful book to read about a man undying quest to capture his dream of killing the great whale ....does Ahab and his Crew succeed ? Read more
Published 14 months ago by robert youngson
1.0 out of 5 stars Overrated
Moby-Dick is a 600+ page book about the sea, where very little happens and you won't care. It earns its status as a classic not by presenting a nuanced, epic plot or by devoting... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Heather
5.0 out of 5 stars Call me Ismael
Great book, longer than I expected but a fantastic read. Ahab's obsession with the whale builds as much as the imminence of his demise. Truly great classic.
Published 16 months ago by MikeW
1.0 out of 5 stars Product not the same as in the picture
I received a product that was substantially different from the one in the picture. I got Moby Dick by Melville but a vastly different edition than the one advertised. Not happy.
Published 17 months ago by KANystrom
5.0 out of 5 stars Great edition
A fantastic edition of a great american classic. Buy it, enjoy it, read it. The great Melville and the whale
Published 17 months ago by Alfredo Garcia Garcia
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