Synopses & Reviews
Moby Dick is widely regarded as the Great American Novel, the measure of literary achievement that all subsequent American novels must contend with. The epic story of Captain Ahab's obsessive quest for the great white whale, told by Ishmael, through whose consciousness the narrative takes shape and meaning, has a Shakespearean grandeur and symbolic power. Melville's experiences as a sailor were drawn on for the witty and learned accounts of the practical details of the whaling industry and the natural history of the whale. This edition reproduces the illustrations and page design created by Rockwell Kent for Random House in 1930.
"In our own moment of horror and heroism, [Moby Dick] is a book more salient than ever unflinchingly honest about the human capacity for hate and brutality, yet filled with an undiscourageable love of humanity." Andrew Delbanco, The New York Times Book Review
"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
"[Moby Dick] is one of the most moving myths ever imagined on man's fight against evil and on the irresistible logic which ends up by pitting the just man first against creation and the creator and later against his equals and against himself." Albert Camus
"As a revelation of human destiny it is too deep even for sorrow", was how D.H. Lawrence characterized MOBY-DICK. Published in the same five-year span as The Scarlet Letter, Walden, and Leaves of Grass, this great adventure of the sea and the life of the soul is the ultimate achievement of that stunning period in American letters.
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
Introduction by Larzer Ziff
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Herman Melville was born in New York City in 1819. When his father died, he was forced to leave school and find work. After passing through some minor clerical jobs, the eighteen-year-old young man shipped out to sea, first on a short cargo trip, then, at twenty-one, on a three-year South Sea whaling venture. From the experiences accumulated on this voyage would come the material for his early books, Typee (1846) and Omoo (1847), as well as for such masterpieces as Moby Dick (1851), Pierre (1852), The Piazza Tales (1856) and Billy Budd, Sailor (posthumous, 1924).