Moby Dick Novel by Herman Melville

Moby Dick is now considered one of the greatest novels in the English language and has secured Melville's place among America's greatest writers.You may think that you know the story of Moby Dick, but until you have read this book, you cannot understand its power. The power comes from the rich descriptions of whalers, those who worked the ships, the history of whaling, the knowledge of whales, and how in the 19th century they were so crudely hunted and butchered on the open seas.

Well, I finally finished it - and as many here have said already, it is an experience both uplifting and frustrating. There are truly wonderful parts in the book, and the last few chapters are unbelievable. But, some of
the parts were just too much for me: pages on pages on the categorization of "whales", and arguments about why they are fish, details about the properties and use of every part of their body, etc., etc. However, then you are hit with stuff that you simply marvel over, that lets you see the English language in a completely new light. Maybe you cannot have one without the other.

One suggestion for reading Moby Dick Novel by Herman Melville 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.

Product Details From Amazon

  • Mass Market Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Classics (February 1, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553213113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553213119
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.7 inches 

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