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Moby-Dick [Paperback]

By Herman Melville (Author) & Charles Child Walcutt (Editor)
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Item description for Moby-Dick by Herman Melville & Charles Child Walcutt...

The nineteenth-century tale of life aboard a New England whaling ship whose captain is obsessed with the pursuit of a huge white whale

Publishers Description
No American masterpiece casts quite as awesome a shadow as Melville's monumental "Moby Dick." Mad Captain Ahab's quest for the White Whale is a timeless epic--a stirring tragedy of vengeance and obsession, a searing parable about humanity lost in a universe of moral ambiguity. It is the greatest sea story ever told. Far ahead of its own time, "Moby Dick" was largely misunderstood and unappreciated by Melville's contemporaries. Today, however, it is indisputably a classic. As D.H. Lawrence wrote, "Moby Dick" "commands a stillness in the soul, an awe . . . It is] one of the strangest and most wonderful books in the world."

Citations And Professional Reviews
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville & Charles Child Walcutt has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Entertainment Weekly - 10/25/2013 page 103
  • Newsweek - 12/03/2007 page 20
  • Christian Century - 10/21/2008 page 31
  • Entertainment Weekly - 07/05/2013 page 97

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Bantam Classics
Pages   670
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 6.97" Width: 4.26" Height: 1.13"
Weight:   0.75 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 1981
Publisher   Bantam Classics
ISBN  0553213113  
ISBN13  9780553213119  

Availability  141 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 28, 2016 10:15.
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More About Herman Melville & Charles Child Walcutt

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 masterpiece Moby-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, packedtidily away by his widow, where it remained until its rediscovery and publication in 1924.

Edward W. Said is University Professor at Columbia, where he has taught English and Comparative Literature since 1963. His books include Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography; Beginnings; Intention and Method; The Question of Palestine; Literature and Society; The World, the Text and the Critic; Covering Islam; Orientalism; After the Last Sky; Blaming the Victim; Musical Elaborations; Culture and Imperialism; Representations of the Intellectual; Out of Place: A Memoir; The End of the Peace Process; Oslo and After and Peace and Its Dicontents: Gaza to Jericho 1993-1995.


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...
  1. Barnes & Noble Classics
  2. Campfire Graphic Novels
  3. Candlewick Illustrated Classics
  4. Classic Starts
  5. Dover Giant Thrift Editions
  6. Dover Thrift Editions
  7. Enriched Classics
  8. Enriched Classics (Simon & Schuster)
  9. Everyman's Library Classics & Contemporary Classics
  10. Ignatius Critical Editions
  11. Library of America
  12. Longman Critical Edition
  13. Modern Library (Hardcover)
  14. Modern Library Classics (Paperback)
  15. Norton Critical Editions
  16. Oxford World's Classics (Paperback)
  17. Penguin Classics
  18. Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions
  19. Penguin Drop Caps
  20. Signet Classics
  21. Tale Blazers
  22. Word Cloud Classics

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( M ) > Melville, Herman > General
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( M ) > Melville, Herman > Paperback
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Classics
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Classics
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Sea Adventures
6Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > British > 19th Century
7Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > 19th Century
8Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > United States > Melville, Herman
9Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Education > Homeschooling > General

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Books > Education (K-12) > General Education > General
Books > Education (K-12) > General Education > Readers

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Books > Homeschool > Reading & Character Building > Classics

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Reviews - What do customers think about Moby-Dick?

Some "classics" aren't. This one is.  Sep 21, 2007
A few years back I made a conscious decision to read (and in some cases re-read) a number of books that fall into the category of "classics." The books that stand the test of time the best have an uncanny ability to feel modern and relevant no matter how long ago they were written. It's almost as if there is a certain current that runs down through the years that flows with a permanence that most don't. If a writer can tap into this current, their writing can be timeless; a classic.

Herman Melville tapped into that current in spades in this story. Despite this book being over 150 years old, the themes Melville selected from many obviously available to him are themes that are just as relevant an engaging today as they were in 1851. Further, Melville somehow had a handle on using language that would not seem outdated even after a century and a half.

What you get is a great story about a revenge-obsessed man, characters to whom you can easily relate and colorful descriptions of the life of a whaleman. It all comes together beautifully.

Any drawbacks? Sure, Melville's story slows in the middle of the book as he goes into a deep examination of the physical characteristics of various whales, but it's still interesting and it's just not enough to take away from the rest of this novel.

Highly recommended.
Slog Through It -- It's Worth It  Sep 18, 2007
This great American novel of the 19th Century, like some of the great novels of the 20th Century, is at times unreadable. Long riffs about whale biology and whale trivia made me put down this book when I tried to read it many years ago. I got through it this time, with the help of Frank Muller's classic reading on audiotape. Don't bother with anyone else's reading -- go to the library and check out Muller's version. He is one of the top readers and does justice to the poetry and great language of this novel.

The book is not told in the way we would find conventional today -- a fast paced narration of the adventures of men at sea. Melville clearly wants to tell the tale in the epic style. He writes in very short chapters that resemble Biblical passages, both in the poetic use of language and in addressing the most elemental themes of good vs. evil, man vs. nature, and the human condition. In the end, even the whale trivia serves the epic purpose in driving home the extraordinary courage and heroism of these whalers.

I don't buy the idea that Moby Dick, malevolent as he is, somehow represents evil. The sometimes destructive and overwhelming force of nature is more likely the right allegorical symbol. Evil for me is Ahab, given the truly heartless choices he makes in his obsession for the White Whale -- and given what happens to a man after 40 years at sea.

The most attractive characters are Ishmael and Queequeg, Ishmael's cannibal friend. Each demonstrates the best quailities of human nature --companionship, courage, acceptance of their lot in life. Given the racial turmoil of the 1850s, Melville may have been making a political point by portraying the nobility of the dark-skinned. I don't buy the idea that the allegory was any more elaborate than that, though it's clear to me that the novel is a gold mine for all sorts of Ph.D. thesis topics.

In the end, I do think that the great themes explored by Melville are more effectively explored less allegorically and more through character development and moral choices. For that reason, I'd say that Huckleberry Finn is the true Great American Novel of the 19th century and that the great Russian contemploraries of Melville wrote better books. But this certainly is a classic work worth the effort.
Free SF Reader  Sep 3, 2007
This whale hunting job really drives me crazy.

or, longer version:

Take on really stupendously big arse white wale. Add a crazed, obsessive monomaniacal Captain. Add in a couple of narrators and quite a few other unfortunates who get stuck in the middle of his quest for the white whale.

Add in an author waxing lyrical, often at length, and you are left with a pretty decent and often interesting novel.

Strange but...  Aug 29, 2007
The strangeness is what makes Moby-Dick so exceptional and an indisputable classic. It was quite a difficult and long read, but upon completion, it was, without a doubt, completely and utterly worthwhile. The characters were some of the most unique in all of fiction and each of them is leaves their mark.
Key Work of Literature  Aug 27, 2007
Moby-Dick is a sprawling, unwieldy yet very great novel about the obsessive pursuit of happiness and fulfillment. "Call me Ishmael..." the famous opening lines establishes the omniscient narrator for this whale of an epic. The novel is filled with remarkable characters; their composite comradery is a true achievement of writing. Melville's insistence on explicating precise technical minutia on the craft of whaling and oceanography turned off most readers when the book was initially published (these sections still turn off most who dare penetrate this tome), yet it is really these sections that allow the reader to become immersed in the world of Ahab, the deranged symbol of evil amidst the beauty and sublime grace of the sea. Melville was an undisputed master of literary style, and this masterpiece is difficult to place for the simple reason that its' incomprehensible scale defies categorization. This is a reader's book; it is a divine allegory, a conventional adventure, and a bewitching construction all at once. Not for the weak minded.

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