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Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Moby Dick (original 1851; edition 1994)

by Herman Melville

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28,10943973 (3.81)6 / 1470
A young seaman joins the crew of the whaling ship Pequod, led by the fanatical Captain Ahab in pursuit of the white whale Moby Dick.
Title:Moby Dick
Authors:Herman Melville
Info:Penguin Books, Paperback, 544 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, four-star-favourites

Work details

Moby Dick by Herman Melville (1851)

  1. 180
    The Sea Wolf by Jack London (wvlibrarydude)
  2. 170
    In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick (jseger9000)
    jseger9000: In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex tells the true story that inspired Melville to write Moby Dick.
  3. 100
    Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad (_eskarina)
  4. 80
    Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Jr. Dana (knownever)
    knownever: A more enjoyable, shorter, and less allegorical story of sailing life, although there aren't any whales. The author of this one kind of looks down on whalers. All together a more jaunty sea tale.
  5. 70
    The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe (caflores)
  6. 61
    The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (caflores)
  7. 50
    The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Sea by Philip Hoare (chrisharpe, John_Vaughan)
  8. 40
    The Wreck of the Whaleship Essex by Owen Chase (meggyweg)
  9. 41
    Why Read Moby-Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick (John_Vaughan)
  10. 31
    Genoa: A Telling of Wonders by Paul Metcalf (alaskayo)
    alaskayo: Melville's heir struggles to close his relationship to his preceding literary genius. Click the link above, read what you can, and get yourself hooked on one of the most critically-adored yet criminally-underread novels written in a century defined by self-analysis and experimentation.… (more)
  11. 42
    The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade by Herman Melville (GaryPatella)
    GaryPatella: Compared to Moby Dick, The Confidence Man is a much lighter read. But after ploughing through Moby Dick, this may be a welcome change. It is not as profound, but you also don't have to struggle through any of it. This is worth reading.
  12. 53
    Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund (ecleirs24, AriadneAranea)
    ecleirs24: Cause this novel is based upon a passage from Mobi Dick......
  13. 10
    Billy Budd, Bartleby, and Other Stories by Herman Melville (chwiggy)
  14. 54
    Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian (caflores)
    caflores: Para amantes del lenguaje náutico y de las descripciones detalladas.
  15. 21
    Railsea by China Miéville (Longshanks)
    Longshanks: An imaginative, affectionate pastiche of the novel's themes, imagery, and characters.
  16. 43
    The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays by Albert Camus (WilfGehlen)
    WilfGehlen: Camus was greatly influenced by Melville and in The Myth of Sisyphus mentions Moby-Dick as a truly absurd work. Reading Moby-Dick with Camus' absurd in mind gives a deeper, and very different insight than provided by the usual emphasis on Ahab's quest for revenge.… (more)
  17. 11
    The Nautical Chart by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (Ronoc)
  18. 11
    Oil! by Upton Sinclair (edwinbcn)
  19. 11
    The Last Fish Tale by Mark Kurlansky (John_Vaughan)
  20. 33
    Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner (ateolf)

(see all 25 recommendations)

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English (395)  Dutch (9)  German (8)  Spanish (7)  Italian (5)  French (5)  Catalan (3)  Norwegian (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (439)
Showing 1-5 of 395 (next | show all)
I registered this book at BookCrossing.com!

I finally read it. Having read about Moby Dick most of my life I finally got around to reading it myself. But I likely would not have if I had not scheduled it for a book club.

Ishmael begins his journey full of hope for the future. He's a bit of a braggart but capable of caring and observing others. The story begins as an adventure tale in the first person, Ishmael narrating. It drifts, though. Sometimes the story is third-person and at times even turns into a play, rather Shakespearean. And then there are the instructive chapters, many chapters about whales and whaling ships, offered as from an authority. Thus what is essentially a pretty simple story becomes over 600 pages.

Melville writes rather floridly. I don't think that people on whaling ships would speak this way, and I wonder why Melville narrates with so much extra padding. Methinks it could do with an editor. But I can't count myself an expert on classics in the 1800s. I can only say it was, for me, a bit of hard slogging at times.

Ahab, captain of the ship, is a bit of a mystery from the start. A passing seaman warns Ishmael against joining the crew of the Pequod, saying only one will survive. On board, the crew rarely sees Ahab. The routine aspects of the journey are handled mostly by Starbuck, a highly competent leader.

We are told early on that Ahab is obsessed with Moby Dick. We are told he is nuts. But when he offers the crew a monetary reward for spotting the legendary white whale they go along. As the ship comes closer to the part of the oceans where Moby Dick tends to be, Ahab increasingly comes on deck and searches with his eyes. The ship takes on whales on the way, of course, killing and butchering them on the ship, storing the spermaceti (a waxlike substance) in tanks below. When closing in on Moby, though, Ahab is impatient. He wants to ignore a sea full of whales and get on with his particular hunt. Starbuck tries to temper his obsession, to no avail.

Finally they are faced with the great white monster and Ahab is ready to sacrifice everything for it.

I had hoped for a build-up of the psychological nature of Ahab, for more of his presence throughout, and I didn't love the endless passages comparing types of whales and whalers. Like most people now, I have no stomach for whaling. I am glad I read the book so I know it myself, and I would be interested in discussing it more with others. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
"How I snuffed that Tartar air!—how I spurned that turnpike earth!—that common highway all over dented with the marks of slavish heels and hoofs; and turned me to admire the magnanimity of the sea which will permit no records."
  AAAO | Aug 28, 2020 |
Who doesn't know the story of Captain Ahab and his obsessive hunt for the whale he calls Moby Dick?
What makes Moby Dick such an iconic story is Ishmael and his keen observations, not just of monomaniacal Captain Ahab, but of the entire crew of the Peaquod and the everlasting mythology surrounding whales. While his voice changes throughout the narrative, he remains the iconic character driving the story. There is a rage in Ahab that is mirrored in Ishmael. There is also a lack of faith in Ishmael that is mirrored in Ahab. While there is an adventure plot, Moby Dick also has a mix of religion (sermon of Jonah and the Whale); the study of the color white as it relates to mountains, architecture, and of course, inhabitants of the ocean, whales and sharks; a lecture of the different types of whales, including the narwhal. Additionally, Moby Dick offers didactic lectures on a variety of subjects: art, food, religion, slavery. [As an aside, although it is a realistic exchange between the cook, Fleece, and sailor Stubb, it made me uncomfortable.] ( )
  SeriousGrace | Aug 23, 2020 |
  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
I know I'm not saying anything new here, but here's my take. Just finished this book and my brain is on fire (in a good way) and my mind is blown.

Beautiful novel.

Sure it requires some patience. Sure you have to slog through a few chapters on cetology. But don't let that stop you. The chapters are short, and what nobody told me is that Melville ties in the human condition at the end of many of these chapters.

Also, that's part of the beauty of the book. The obsession, the madness, the struggle of any human endeavor. Trying to find meaning in the meaningless.Trying to gain knowledge in an unknowable world.

It's Shakespearean in its grandeur. It's poetic. Melville was a genius. You could come close to earning your PhD just from following and studying the allusions in the book. It would require multiple readings to take it all in.

If you're a patient reader; if you're an intelligent reader - don't let the negative reviews or horror stories you've heard scare you off from reading as they did me. Don't put it off any longer. ( )
  peacocoa | Aug 13, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 395 (next | show all)
Forfatter: Herman Melville

Moby Dick I
«Kall meg Ismael. For noen år siden - akkurat når det var, er likegyldig - bestemte jeg meg for å gå til sjøs og lære verdenshavene å kjenne. Jeg hadde lite eller ingenting å leve av, og ikke noe særlig som interesserte meg på land. Gå til sjøs - på den måten har jeg ofte drevet tungsinn på flukt og regulert blodomløpet.»
Slik begynner verdens kanskje mest kjente roman, romanen som stiller de vanskeligste og viktigste spørsmål; om det ondes og godes natur og om viljens mulighet til å trosse skjebnen.

Moby Dick II
Historien om kaptein Akabs glødende hat til den hvite hvalen fortsetter:
«Riggen levde. Mastetoppene var som høye palmer, var vidt behengt med armer og ben. Enkelte av sjøfolkene klynget seg til spirene med den ene hånden, mens de utålmodig viftet med den andre. Noen satt ytterst ute på de gyngende rærne og skjermet øynene mot det skarpe solskinnet. Hele riggen var full av dødelige mennesker, rede og modne til å ta imot sin skjebne. Å, hvor de stirret ut gjennom det uendelige blå, for å oppdage det vesen som kanskje skulle ødelegge dem!»

Herman Melville
Herman Melville (1819-1891), amerikansk forfatter, essayist og poet. Melville blir ansett å være blant de fremste amerikanske forfattere gjennom tidene, og hans hovedverk Moby Dick (1851) regnes som en av verdenslitteraturens største romaner. Samtidens forfattere hadde gått på de «riktige» skolene, mens Melvilles bakgrunn var annerledes. Han ble født inn i en rikmannsfamilie, men måtte tidlig greie seg selv. Som ung gutt gikk han til sjøs og sa senere; «havet ble mitt universitet». Melville hadde store reiser og merkelig eventyr bak seg da Moby Dick kom ut. Han hadde seilt i over fire år, var to ganger rundt Kapp Horn og hadde levd blant kannibaler etter at han deserterte på Marquesas-øyene. Melville kjente virkelig til det livet han beskriver i boken, et farefullt liv i jakten på havets gull, spermasetthvalens verdifulle olje.
added by KystbiblioteketOslo | editFlyt Forlag, Anne Nygren

» Add other authors (205 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Melville, Hermanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adler, Mortimer J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beaver, Harold LowtherEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buhlert, KlausDirectorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
D'Agostino, NemiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Delbanco, AndrewIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fadiman, CliftonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Güttinger, FritzTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gibson, William M.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hewgill, JodyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jendis, MatthiasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kazin, AlfredIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kent, RockwellIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meynell, ViolaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moser, BarryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muller, FrankNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mummendey, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palmer, GarrickIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pavese, CesareTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Quirk, TomCommentarysecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Quirk, TomEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rathjen, FriedhelmTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robinson, BoardmanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schaeffer, MeadIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schmischke, KurtIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sutcliffe, DenhamAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trent, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walcutt, Charles ChildEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Call me Ishmael. Some years ago — never mind how long precisely — having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.
I’ll try a pagan friend, thought I, since Christian kindness has proved but hollow courtesy.
...so at nightfall, the Nantucketer, out of sight of land, furls his sails, and lays him to his rest, while under his very pillow rush herds of walruses and whales.
...Heaven have mercy on us all—Presbyterians and Pagans alike—for we are all somehow dreadfully cracked about the head, and sadly need mending.
‘Whale-balls for breakfast—don’t forget.’ (Stubb, second mate)
And with what quill did the Secretary of the Society for the Suppression of Cruelty to Ganders formally indite his circulars? It is only within the last month or two that that society passed a resolution to patronize nothing but steel pens.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine adaptations or abridged editions of Moby Dick with unabridged versions. Versions aimed at children are normally abridged editions and should not be combined here. Also, books ABOUT Moby Dick (such as study guides) should not be combined with the unabridged nor the abridged novel. Please keep such books as an independent work.
The ISBN 9025463312 is shared with a different work.
The Penguin Classics 150th Anniversary Ed (ISBN 0142000086) is not abridged, although that word has appeared in some user's data.
Norton Critical editions, Longman Critical editions and other scholarly editions should not be combined with the unabridged novel. The scholarly-type editions contain much additional material so they should be considered as separate works.
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A young seaman joins the crew of the whaling ship Pequod, led by the fanatical Captain Ahab in pursuit of the white whale Moby Dick.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
The first English edition of Herman Melville, "The Whale" (London, 1851; 3 vols, 12mo, blue cloth cover, uncut) was issued prior to the first US edition, which appeared later in the same year under the title "Moby-Dick; or The Whale", and contained thirty-five passages omitted from the English edition. (Sale catalogue of A. Edward Newton's collection, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 15 May 1941, lot 729, reproduced in The private library, 4th series, vol. 7, no. 2, Summer 1994, p. 80).
Haiku summary
Call me Ishmael.
Score: Whale 1, Ahab 0.
I alone returned.
Nor been sparing of

Historical whale research

--Chapter one-o-one

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