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Moby-Dick or, The Whale (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

By Herman Melville (Author), Andrew Delbanco (Introduction by) & Tom Quirk (Commentaries by)
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Item description for Moby-Dick or, The Whale (Penguin Classics) by Herman Melville, Andrew Delbanco & Tom Quirk...

Written with wonderfully redemptive humor, "Moby-Dick" is the story of an eerily compelling madman pursuing an unholy war against a creature as vast and dangerous and unknowable as the sea itself.

Publishers Description
Herman Melville's masterpiece, one of the greatest works of imagination in literary history
Over a century and a half after its publication, Moby-Dick still stands as an indisputable literary classic. It is the story of an eerily compelling madman pursuing an unholy war against a creature as vast and dangerous and unknowable as the sea itself. But more than just a novel of adventure, more than an encyclopedia of whaling lore and legend, Moby-Dick is a haunting, mesmerizing, and important social commentary populated with several of the most unforgettable and enduring characters in literature. Never losing its cultural prescence, Melville's nautical epic has inspired many films over the years, including the upcoming adaptation of Nathanael Philbrick's "In the Heart of the Sea," starring Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Ben Wishaw, and Brendan Gleeson, and directed by Ron Howard. Written with wonderfully redemptive humor, Moby-Dick is a profound and timeless inquiry into character, faith, and the nature of perception. This Penguin Classics edition, featuring an introduction by Andrew Delbanco and notes by Tom Quirk, prints the Northwestern-Newberry edition of Melville's text, approved by the Center for Scholarly Editions and the Center for Editions of American Authors of the MLA.
For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Penguin Classics
Pages   720
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.72" Width: 5.08" Height: 1.18"
Weight:   1.05 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 31, 2002
Publisher   Penguin Classics
Age  18
Series  Penguin Classics  
ISBN  0142437247  
ISBN13  9780142437247  
UPC  051488012009  

Availability  0 units.

More About Herman Melville, Andrew Delbanco & Tom Quirk

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Herman Melville was born in August 1, 1819, in New York City, the son of a merchant. Only twelve when his father died bankrupt, young Herman tried work as a bank clerk, as a cabin-boy on a trip to Liverpool, and as an elementary schoolteacher, before shipping in January 1841 on the whaler Acushnet, bound for the Pacific. Deserting ship the following year in the Marquesas, he made his way to Tahiti and Honolulu, returning as ordinary seaman on the frigate United States to Boston, where he was discharged in October 1844. Books based on these adventures won him immediate success. By 1850 he was married, had acquired a farm near Pittsfield, Massachussetts (where he was the impetuous friend and neighbor of Nathaniel Hawthorne), and was hard at work on his masterpieceM oby-Dick. Literary success soon faded; his complexity increasingly alienated readers. After a visit to the Holy Land in January 1857, he turned from writing prose fiction to poetry. In 1863, during the Civil War, he moved back to New York City, where from 1866-1885 he was a deputy inspector in the Custom House, and where, in 1891, he died. A draft of a final prose work, Billy Budd, Sailor, was left unfinished and uncollated, packed tidily away by his widow, where it remained until its rediscovery and publication in 1924.

Tony Millionaire is an American cartoonist, illustrator and author known for his syndicated comic strip Maakies and the Sock Monkey series of comic and picture books.

Herman Melville lived in New York City, in the state of New York. Herman Melville was born in 1819 and died in 1891.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Classics
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Action & Adventure
5Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Thrillers > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Moby-Dick or, The Whale (Penguin Classics)?

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.
Moby Dick is a Whale of a Tale on many levels of literary brilliance  Mar 11, 2008
Herman Melville dedicated "Moby Dick" his 1850 epic masterpiece to his good friend Nathaniel Hawthorne. Like that Salem sage, Sailor Melville was a man of dark brooding genius. Both of these men were opposed to the sanguine philsophy of transcendentalism whose chief exponents were Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. And as Joseph Conrad explored the dark side of the human heart in "The Heart of Darkness" so too does Melville takes us to the hell of a demented captain's monomaniacal pursuit of Moby Dick the great white whale.
The long 600 page novel is narrated by Ishmael a sailor on the Pequod
captained by Captain Ahab. As his biblical namesake was a wanderer in the wilderness being forsaken by his father Abraham so to does sailor Ishamael consider himself an orphan abandonded to the winds, storms and high seas of lonely life on a whaler. The Pequod whaling ship is named for a village of Pequod Indians who were massacred by white settlers. Thirty men are aboard the doomed vessel which is symbolic of the thirty states in antebellum America. The novel says Andrew Delbanco, in the introduction to the Penguin edition has many symbolic resonances with the then current political scene. A wigwam is built on deck symbolizing the corruption of Tammany Hall in New York politics. Pip the African-American cabin boy is used as a slave by Ahab reminding readers of the Compromise of 1850 which made the fugitive slave law a reality. Throughout the book we see Melville portraying how humankind wantonly kills animals, descretes nature and practices a survival of the fitness amorality.
The Pequod is a microcosm of America and also the world. We see all types of humanity portrayed among its crew from the savage Queequeg to the humorous Stubbs and Flask to the rationalistic first mate Starbuck.
Towering over the pages of this monumental work of genius is Captain Ahab. His leg was severed by Moby Dick and he may also be sexually impotent. He is driven to the killing of Moby Dick forsaking his young family and driving his crew in his relentless quest to wreak revenge on the great whale. Who is Ahab? Like the biblical king of that name he worships an idol which in his case is the dream of revenge against Moby Dick. Delblanco points out that he closely resembles Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina who was a staunch advocate of chattel slavery and an ardent opponent of Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. Ahab is a devlish fiend of a man whose quarter deck speech in which he enlists the crew to join him in hatred of Moby Dick reminds us of dictators skill at crowd manipulation and oratory from Hitler to Stalin to Saddam Hussein.
Moby Dick has been interpreted in countless ways by literary critics. His whiteness may represent the nothingness of nature and the indifference to human suffering seen in a godless universe. Moby Dick stands for any idol we humans worship in our hearts and heads.
The vision of life painted by Melville is harsh, bleak and pessimistic. Perhaps by clinging to the coffin of his Indian friend in the epilogue Ishmael is giving us some hope for resurrection. Pick your own interpretation.
Moby Dick contains many chapters dealing with the life and anatomy of whales, life on a whaling boat, the tools used in the whaling industry and other materials which may bore the reader. I, however, found these chapters fascinating as Melville opens our eyes to this vanished way of life.
It is hard to believe the book was published so long ago! In it you will find existentialistic despair, poetry, song, psychological plunging into the depths of the human soul as well as Melville's thoughts on various subjects and ways to view life.
"Moby Dick" is a big shaggy dog novel which may well be the best novel ever written by an American. No one aspiring to be a literate reader should refrain from devoting the time and energy required to complete it. Herman Melville deserves our respect and appreciation for inviting us to voyage across the seas with him and mad Ahab!
A magnificent book  Jan 29, 2008
A magnificent book. It's about so much more than just a whale and a captain. It's an encyclopedia of whaling. The story is told in such beautiful prose that many times I found it hard to believe that an actual person wrote it. The only challenge is the very complex writing structure. I've never seen so many semicolons.

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