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Why Read Moby-Dick?by Nathaniel Philbrick
Synopses & Reviews
The New York Times bestselling author of seagoing epics now celebrates an American classic.
Moby-Dick is perhaps the greatest of the Great American Novels, yet its length and esoteric subject matter create an aura of difficulty that too often keeps readers at bay. Fortunately, one unabashed fan wants passionately to give Melville's masterpiece the broad contemporary audience it deserves. In his National Book Award- winning bestseller, In the Heart of the Sea, Nathaniel Philbrick captivatingly unpacked the story of the wreck of the whaleship Essex, the real-life incident that inspired Melville to write Moby- Dick. Now, he sets his sights on the fiction itself, offering a cabin master's tour of a spellbinding novel rich with adventure and history.
Philbrick skillfully navigates Melville's world and illuminates the book's humor and unforgettable characters-finding the thread that binds Ishmael and Ahab to our own time and, indeed, to all times. A perfect match between author and subject, Why Read Moby-Dick? gives us a renewed appreciation of both Melville and the proud seaman's town of Nantucket that Philbrick himself calls home. Like Alain de Botton's How Proust Can Change Your Life, this remarkable little book will start conversations, inspire arguments, and, best of all, bring a new wave of readers to a classic tale waiting to be discovered anew.
"Answering the negative of Philbrick's titular question is easy: Moby-Dick is intimidatingly large, scientifically rigorous, esoteric, and to some, may seem outdated. While the size of The Whale cannot be debated, Philbrick's entreaty is as approachable as it is persuasive. In this cogent and passionate polemic for Melville's masterpiece, Philbrick (In the Heart of the Sea) combines a critical eye and a reader's adoration to make a case for Moby-Dick. The plights of the Pequod, Ishmael and Ahab may seem irrelevant (or worse, quaint) compared to today's troubles, but Philbrick opines that within the pages of this American classic lie timeless archetypes whose relevance stretches across human history. Upon the loom of Melville's narrative run numerous threads of insight and argument dealing with subjects as diverse as multiculturalism, homoeroticism, and transcendental experiences of the natural world. Less lit-crit and more readers' guide, this tome will remind fans why they loved the book in the first place, and whet the appetites of trepid potential readers." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" is an insightful companion volume to the original work, designed to bring a thorough and unique new reading of The Hobbit to a general audience. Corey Olsen, host of the popular podcast "The Tolkien Professor," takes readers on a compelling, in-depth tour of Tolkien's novel, illuminating the secrets and stories behind the characters within the enchanting prelude to The Lord of the Rings.
“An admirable and thought-provoking consideration of the underlying themes of The Hobbit, following the there-and-back-again progress from its famous first line on through to Bilbos return home at the storys end.” —Douglas A. Anderson, author of The Annotated Hobbit
The Hobbit is one of the most widely read and best-loved books of the twentieth century. Now Corey Olsen takes readers deep within the text to uncover its secrets and delights.
Exploring J.R.R. Tolkiens “The Hobbit” is a fun, thoughtful, and insightful companion volume, designed to bring a thorough and original new reading of this great work to a general audience. Professor Corey Olsen takes readers on an in-depth journey through The Hobbit chapter by chapter, revealing the stories within the story: the dark desires of dwarves and the sublime laughter of elves, the nature of evil and its hopelessness, the mystery of divine providence and human choice, and, most of all, the transformation within the life of Bilbo Baggins. Exploring J.R.R. Tolkiens “The Hobbit” is a book that will make The Hobbit come alive for readers as never before.
A brilliant and provocative” (The New Yorker) celebration of Melvilles masterpiece—from the bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea
One of the greatest American novels finds its perfect contemporary champion in Why Read Moby-Dick?, Nathaniel Philbricks enlightening and entertaining tour through Melvilles classic. As he did in his National Book Awardwinning bestseller In the Heart of the Sea, Philbrick brings a sailors eye and an adventurers passion to unfolding the story behind an epic American journey. He skillfully navigates Melvilles world and illuminates the books humor and unforgettable characters—finding the thread that binds Ishmael and Ahab to our own time and, indeed, to all times. An ideal match between author and subject, Why Read Moby-Dick? will start conversations, inspire arguments, and make a powerful case that this classic tale waits to be discovered anew.
About the Author
Nathaniel Philbrick is the author of numerous acclaimed bestsellers about American history. He is the founding director of the Egan Maritime Institute on Nantucket Island and a research fellow at the Nantucket Historical Association. He is a champion sailboat racer and lives on Nantucket.
Table of Contents
A Most Excellent and Audacious Hobbit 17
In the Lone-lands 39
The Ridiculous and the Sublime 54
Over the Edge of the Wild 69
The Turning Point 84
Where the Wild Things Are 111
The Friend of Bears and the Guest of Eagles 127
The Stinging Fly 147
Burgling Faerie 166
The Return of the King 183
When the Thrush Knocks 196
Bilbo Earns His Reward 206
A Burglar Indeed 226
The Meeting of Opposites 238
To Sit on a Heap of Gold and Starve 248
A Leap in the Dark 258
The Sudden Turn 265
Snow After Fire 275
Under Cloud and Under Star 288
Index of Names and Places 309
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