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Moby-Dick: Or, the White Whale (Everyman's Library Classics) Hardcover – 26 Sep 1991
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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 the Paperback edition.
"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
"From the Trade Paperback edition." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I won't go into too much detail as not to spoil it but this classic is still worth the read if you can last through the more factual chapters. These chapters can be boring to read for those more interested in a good story but you actually do end up learning a lot about the different whales and how the whole whaling worked in the past. However you do at times feel like wondering if the factual bits will ever end. The book can actually be a little squeamish for devout animal lovers as there's quite detailed explanations of removing the blubber from whales but of course this book IS about whaling.
The ending of the story actually kept me engrossed I just had to finish the last chapter. I was surprised how much I wanted to read the end, after a few very long factual chapters the pace of the story really picked up towards the end and I was glad to get through this book, the ending for me does not disappoint.Read more ›
I can see this book being truly relished by hardcore literature buffs with a love of ships and the sea, but I can't help but feel that just about anyone else would find it very heavy going.
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 ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The books is fantastic - but it comes in a weird large format that looks like a work book for schools.Published 14 days ago by Stein Claudia Dr
This is a great classic book that every one should read. It would be great in anyones collection. It arrived in perfect condition.Published 1 month ago by Michelle Erhimedafe
I read this as it is seen as a "classic". It's far too long, with huge quantities of unnecessary description. I very nearly gave up. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Doc Rog