Item description for Moby Dick (Classic Fiction) by Herman Melville & Bill Bailey...
The Nantucket whaling ship, the Pequod, spirals the globe in search of Moby Dick, the mythical white whale of the Southern Oceans. Driven by the obsessive revenge of Captain Ahab, the crew and the outcast Ishmael find themselves caught up in a demonic pursuit, which leads inexorably to an apocalyptic climax.
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Herman Melville's (1819-91) father's bankruptcy and death in 1832 deprived him of higher-educational oppotunities and alienated him forever from a conventional view of life.He taught school, sailed to Liverpool and back, then shipped before the mast on a Pacific whaling voyage. He deserted at the Marquesas Islands, living for a month among the cannibal Typee natives. An Australian whaleship then took him to Tahiti, where he was jailed for mutiny, but he escaped and spent some months as a beachcomber. A third whaleship took him to Hawaii, where he lived for some months before sailing home with the crew of the frigate United States. From these adventures came his popular and increasingly imaginative travel romances: Typee (1846), Omoo (1847), the allegorical Mardi (1849), Redburn (1849), White-Jacket (1850), and his masterpiece, Moby-Dick (1851). Melville married in 1847. His later works of fiction were not sea romances and sold poorly. He gave up professional writing and for twenty years served as a customs inspector in New York, where he died. Billy Budd, written in his last years, was published for the first time in 1924, on the crest of a Melville revival that began about 1920 and continues to the present day a revival that has established him among the greatest American writers. Elizabeth Renker teachesEnglish at Ohio State University. She is the author ofStrike through the Mask: Herman Melville and the Scene of Writing. Christopher Buckley is a widely published essayist and the author of fifteen books, including Thank Your for Smoking and Losing Mum and Pup. At eighteen, he worked his way around the world as a deckboy aboard a Norwegian merchant ship. His first book was Steaming to Bamboola: The World of a Tramp Freighter, and he has crossed the Atlantic twice aboard a sailboat and the Pacific once."
Herman Melville lived in New York City, in the state of New York. Herman Melville was born in 1819 and died in 1891.
Herman Melville has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Moby Dick (Classic Fiction)?
DON"T BUY PENGUIN VERSION Jun 24, 2008
the modern library classics version is far superior !!!! for the amazing illustrations by rockwell kent truly enhance the experience (as does the font size and spacing)
Does not deserve boring rep Jun 22, 2008
Among the musty old Classics, this book is surprisingly entertaining. I found the sections on whaling to be fascinating. I don't understand why some consider it "grueling" or "hard work" to get through it. Don't approach it as a Classic; rather, enjoy an amazing story written by a terrific storyteller. Afterwards, ponder the profundity of what you have read. The Norton Critical Edition has the most useful footnotes for casual readers.
The Great American Novel Jun 14, 2008
Simply put, this is a must read. Herman Melville's _Moby Dick_ received largely unfavorable reviews at the time of publication, and it never brought Melville literary acclaim during his lifetime. It was not until critics rediscovered the novel in the 1920s that it began to be viewed as a masterpiece and the apotheosis of the Great American Novel.
My own reception of the book, back in my high school days, paralleled its treatment by the literary establishment. While I enjoyed portions of the text, I could not really get into it and actually ended up abandoning the story a few chapters shy of its conclusion. When I later picked it up again, though--out of curiosity rather than necessity--I was hooked. Whether my own maturity or the motive behind reading it were more influential I cannot say, but I suspect that many who find this novel difficult at first will eventually find it a rewarding and noteworthy read.
New readers face three key challenges with this text: fears about its length and complexity, discomfort with Melville's loquacious writing style, and confusion over the juxtaposition of plot, factual discourse, and philosophical musings. These are easily overcome if one reads at a comfortable pace and allows oneself to become acquainted with Melville's language, which is at times reminiscent of the learned style employed by authors like Edgar Allen Poe. A wonderful way to understand the nuances of the text and truly "get into" the novel is to listen to the audiobook version, narrated masterfully by Frank Muller.
Reserve this book for a time when you can read it without pressure and expectations. Allow yourself to become immersed in Ishmael's world. Re-read passages that confuse you, and don't be afraid to skip ponderous chapters like "Cetology" if they will prevent you from completing the novel. Whatever you do, though, be sure this is one story you allow yourself to complete -- you will be rewarded as you do so.
Let the whale live....and kill me instead! Apr 17, 2008
Moby Dick is a classic....a book that you'd have to have lived in a cave on a remote island for your entire life to have not at least heard the name of.
The book has sat on my bookshelf, as part of a series of classic novels I had been given, for some time now. I always knew that 'someday' I'd open it and read it...being one of those 'I really should read it at some point' books.
Apparently I enjoyed this book a lot less than many others who have read it and reviewed it here....because I have to admit that it is one of the most dry, turgid, tedious experiences I have ever had to wade through this book, and it's under 500 pages long.
Perhaps what deterred me from enjoying it was the endless chapters that provide detailed descriptions of the size of a whale's head....or the length of a whale's tail....or the distance from a whale's head to its tail.....chapter upon chapter upon chapter that did nothing to move the story along, did nothing to flesh out the characters any better..and did nothing to hold my interest.
While the book is filled with interesting characters, the infamous Captain Ahab, the strange and curious Queequeg, the immortal 'Ishmael' who provides the narrative of the story, and who seemed, upon reading his story of life upon the Pequod, more like a clumsy, giddy little schoolgirl working on a fishing boat than an 'able bodied seaman'.
The cast of characters alone could have been far more interesting, at least to me, to explore than the wrapt appraisal of a whale's jawbone....and left me feeling as though I was reading a non-fiction work entitled 'Everything you'll never need to know about whales'.
'Call me Ishmael' may start off what for some is their favorite written work of all time. Call ME bored.....and unable to really recommend this to anyone other than someone who for some reason really desires to know more about the anatomy of a whale.
Everyone should carefully read Moby-Dick Apr 14, 2008
There is a direct correlation between time spent reading this book and respect for the work. Those who don't want to spend many hours on this book will not appreciate it. Those forced to read it for a class will resent it. Those who skip lots of chapters and go straight to the action will be dissatisfied with it. But those who read this book thoroughly will respect it.
I chose the word "respect" because I can't say that I "love" it. I have very conflicted feelings about it. There are flaws with this book. There is a lot of depth to this book too. It can stand up to numerous re-readings. It can be interpreted a million ways. With this book, more than any other I know, who you are affects how you read it. I don't think anyone can ever fully understand Moby-Dick. Ishmael didn't, I didn't, and I'm pretty sure Herman Melville didn't either. And that's sort of the point.
It is a work of art and deserves its title as a classic.