Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

Moby Dick (edition 1989)

by Herman Melville, Imre Szász, Csaba Tóth

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
20,62732271 (3.83)6 / 1067
Title:Moby Dick
Authors:Herman Melville
Other authors:Imre Szász, Csaba Tóth
Info:Bratislava Bp. Madách Európa 1989
Collections:Audio Book, Calibre, Paperback, Your library

Work details

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

  1. 131
    The Sea Wolf by Jack London (wvlibrarydude)
  2. 120
    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. 80
    Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad (_eskarina)
  4. 50
    Leviathan or, The Whale by Philip Hoare (chrisharpe, John_Vaughan)
  5. 50
    The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe (caflores)
  6. 30
    The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (caflores)
  7. 41
    Why Read Moby-Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick (John_Vaughan)
  8. 41
    Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry 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.
  9. 31
    Railsea by China Miéville (Longshanks)
    Longshanks: An imaginative, affectionate pastiche of the novel's themes, imagery, and characters.
  10. 21
    Genoa: A Telling of Wonders by Paul Metcalf (rickyrickyricky)
    rickyrickyricky: 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. 32
    Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner (ateolf)
  12. 43
    Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham (JGKC)
  13. 32
    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)
  14. 43
    Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund (ecleirs24, AriadneAranea)
    ecleirs24: Cause this novel is based upon a passage from Mobi Dick......
  15. 22
    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.
  16. 11
    Oil! by Upton Sinclair (edwinbcn)
  17. 11
    The Last Fish Tale by Mark Kurlansky (John_Vaughan)
  18. 11
    The Nautical Chart by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (Ronoc)
  19. 34
    Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian (caflores)
    caflores: Para amantes del lenguaje náutico y de las descripciones detalladas.
  20. 14
    Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (ateolf)

(see all 23 recommendations)

Romans (14)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (290)  German (9)  Dutch (7)  Spanish (5)  French (2)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (2)  Catalan (2)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (322)
Showing 1-5 of 290 (next | show all)
Audio book from Audible - brilliantly read by Frank Muller!
The book can't decide what it wants to be. Whale anthology or suspense novel.
Ahab doesn't strike me as a very complex character. A bit King Leary!
I waited anxiously for the final showdown which was the only thing I remembered from an old film version. It was gone as "fastly" as the whale itself!
I did like the style - highly ironic at times - and the seamen's banter -highly authentic and witty.
I don't mind long books it they are wqorth all their pages. Melville could have shortened a whole lot without missing a beat of what's really important.
No need to make reading it last as long as the voyage itself...
  Kindlegohome | Jul 10, 2015 |
Really, really good. This is the third time I've tried to read it and like it—this time it worked. I've been reading a lot about New England since the previous attempts, also about the time period in which Moby-Dick takes place. No doubt that's made it much more accessible for me. ( )
  NatalieSW | Jun 21, 2015 |
[From Books and You, Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1940, pp. 97-8:]

I will speak of a great book now. This is Moby Dick. I read Melville’s South Sea books, Omoo and Typee, when I was myself on the islands [1916/17] and I read them with interest and pleasure, but I have never been tempted to read them again; and I have not read Pierre, accepting the opinion of good critics that Melville went to pieces when he wrote it. But Moby Dick is enough for any man’s reputation. Some critics have complained of the flamboyance of its style. To my mind it is written in a manner that wonderfully suits the theme. Grandiloquence is an affair of hit or miss; when it comes off you may reach the sublime, when it doesn’t you descend to the ridiculous. I will admit that sometimes Melville does so descend; but it is beyond human powers to walk always on the topmost heights, and his tumbles may be condoned when you consider how splendidly, with what a noble force, with what a sustained splendour of phrase, he writes his best passages. I will confess that there are a number of chapters, the chapters of antiquarian lore mugged-up in a library and those dealing with the natural history of the whale, which I find tedious; but it is obvious that Melville set great store on his recondite knowledge, and you have to accept the crotchets of an author of great parts. Homer sometimes nods and Shakespeare can write passages of empty rhetoric. But in the scenes at New Bedford, and when he describes events, when he deals with men, above all of course with the tremendous Ahab, then he is magnificent. There is a throb, a mystery, a foreboding, a passion, a sense of the horror and terror of life, of the inevitableness of destiny and of the power of evil, which take you by the throat. You are left shattered, but strangely uplifted. And if you are a writer you are proud to think that you cultivate an art which is capable of such altitudes and which can work such wonderful effects on the hearts and senses and minds of men.

[From Ten Novels and Their Authors, Heinemann, 1954, pp. 193-203:]

Melville’s reading, though desultory, had always been wide. It seems that he was chiefly attracted by the poets and prose writers of the seventeenth century, and one must presume that he found in them something that peculiarly accorded with his own confused propensities. Whether their influence was harmful to him or beneficial is a matter of personal opinion. His early education was slight and, as often happens in such cases, he did not quite assimilate the culture he acquired in later years. Culture is not something you put on like a ready-made suit of clothes, but a nourishment you absorb to build up your personality, just as food builds up the body of a growing boy; it is not an ornament to decorate a phrase, still less to show off your knowledge, but a means, painfully acquired, to enrich your soul.


“To produce a mighty book,” wrote Melville, “you must choose a mighty theme,” and it is pretty clear that he thought it must be dealt with in the grand style. Robert Louis Stevenson claimed that Melville had no ear; I don’t know what he meant by that. Melville had a true sense of rhythm, and the balance of his sentences, however long, is in general excellent. He liked the high-sounding phrase, and the stately vocabulary he employed in fact enabled him frequently to get effects of great beauty. Sometimes this inclination led him to tautology, as when he speaks of the “umbrageous shade”, which only means the shady shade; but you can scarcely deny that the sound is rich. Sometimes one is pulled up by such a tautology as “hasty precipitancy” only to discover with some awe that Milton wrote: “Thither they hasted with glad precipitance.” Sometimes Melville uses common words in an unexpected way, and often obtains by this a pleasant novelty of effect; and even when it seems to you that he has used them in a sense they cannot bear, it is rash to blame him with “hasty precipitancy”, for he may well have authority to go on. When he speaks of “redundant hair”, it may occur to you that hair may be redundant on a maiden’s lip, but hardly on a young man’s head; but if you look it out in the dictionary you will find that the second sense of redundant is copious, and Milton wrote of “redundant locks”.

The difficulty of the kind of writing Melville set himself to use in Moby Dick is that the rhetorical level must be maintained throughout. The matter must fit the manner. The writer cannot afford to be sentimental or humorous. Melville was too often both, and then you read him with embarrassment.

His taste was unsure and sometimes, attempting the poetic, he only succeeded in being absurd: “But few thoughts of Pan stirred Ahab’s brain, as standing like an iron statue at his accustomed place beside the mizzen rigging, with one nostril he unthinkingly sniffed the sugary musk from the Banshee isles (in whose sweet woods mild lovers must be walking), and with the other consciously inhaled the salt breath of the new-found sea….” To smell one odour with one nostril and, at the same time, another with the other is more than a remarkable feat; it is an impossible one. I have little sympathy with Melville’s partiality for archaic words and words only in poetic usage: o’er for over; nigh for near; ere for before; anon and eftsoons; they give a fusty, meretricious air to prose that at its best is solid and virile. He had an extensive vocabulary, and sometimes it run away with him. He found it hard to set down a noun without tacking on it an adjective and often two or three. He was peculiarly fond of the adjective mystic, and used it as though it meant strange, mysterious, awe-inspiring, frightening, in fact whatever at the moment he wanted it to mean. Professor Stoll in the article to which I have already referred , and which is as eminently, and even as devastatingly, sensible as everything he writes, has justly stigmatized this as pseudo-poetic. In this article Professor Stoll has remarked on a characteristic that must disturb all readers of Melville, and that is his predilection for adverbs formed out of participles. It may be that it is on this account that Stevenson claimed that Melville had no ear, for one has to admit that these constructions seldom have euphony to recommend them. The most ill-sounding that I have noticed is whistlingly, but Professor Stoll has quoted others, burstingly, suckingly, and he might have quoted a hundred more that run it pretty close. Newton Arvin in his painstaking, but to my mind wrong-headed, book in the American Men of Letters Series has given examples of Melville’s coining of words: footmanism, omnitooled, uncatastrophied, domineerings; and appears to think that they add a peculiar excellence to his style. They certainly add to its idiosyncrasy, but surely not to its beauty. If Melville had had an education more catholic, and taste less uncertain, he could have achieved the effects he was presumably aiming at without the distortions of language he affected.


But for all that, notwithstanding the reservations one may make, Melville wrote English uncommonly well. Sometimes, as I have pointed out, the manner he had acquired led him to rhetorical extravagance, but at its best it has a copious magnificence, a sonority, a grandeur, an eloquence that no modern writer, so far as I know, has achieved. It does, indeed, at times recall the majestic phrase of Sir Thomas Browne and the stately period of Milton. I should like to call the reader’s attention to the ingenuity with which Melville wove into the elaborate pattern of his prose the ordinary nautical terms used by sailor-men in the course of their daily work. The effect is to bring a note of realism, a savour of the fresh salt of the sea, to the sombre symphony which is the strange and powerful novel of Moby Dick. Every author has the right to be judged by his best. How good Melville’s best is the reader can judge for himself by reading the chapter entitled ‘The Great Armada.’ When he has action to describe, he does it magnificently, with force, and then his formal manner of writing grandly enhances the thrilling effect.

No one who has read anything I have written will expect me to speak of Moby Dick, Melville’s only title to rank with the great writers of fiction, as an allegory. Readers must go elsewhere for that. I can only deal with it from my own standpoint of a not inexperienced novelist. The purpose of fiction is to give aesthetic pleasure. It has no practical ends. The business of the novelist is not to advance philosophical theories; that is the business of the philosopher, who can do it better. But since some very intelligent persons have taken Moby Dick for an allegory, it is proper that I should deal with the matter. They have regarded as ironical Melville’s own remark: “He feared,” he wrote, “that his work might be looked upon as a monstrous fable, or still worse and more detestable, a hideous and intolerable allegory.” Is it rash to assume that when a practised writer says a thing, he is more likely to mean what he says than what his commentators think he means? It is true that in a letter to Mrs. Hawthorne he stated that he had, while writing, “some vague idea that the whole book was susceptible of an allegorical construction”; but that is slender evidence that he had the intention of writing an allegory. May it not be possible that if, in fact, it is susceptible to such an interpretation, it is something that came about by accident and, as his words to Mrs. Hawthorne seem to indicate, not a little to his dismay? I don’t how critics write novels, but I have some notion how novelists write them. They do not take a general proposition, such as Honesty is the Best Policy or All is not Gold that Glitters, and say: “Let’s write an allegory about that.” A group of characters, generally suggested by persons they have known, excites their imagination, and sometimes simultaneously, sometimes after an interval, an incident or a string of incidents, experienced, heard or invented, appears to them out of the blue to enable them to make suitable use of it in the development of the theme that has arisen in their minds by a sort of collaboration between the characters and the incidents. Melville was not fanciful, or at least, when he attempted to be so, as in Mardi, he came a cropper. To imagine, and his imagination was powerful, he needed a solid basis of fact. Indeed, certain critics have on this account accused him of lacking invention – I think, without reason. It is true that he invented more convincingly when he had a substratum of experience, his own or that of others, to sustain him; but then so do most novelists; and when he had this, his imagination worked freely and with power. When, as in Pierre, he had not, he wrote absurdly. It is true that Melville was of a “pondering” turn and, as he grew older, he became absorbed in metaphysics, which Raymond Weaver, strangely enough, states is “but misery dissolved in thought”.[2] That is a narrow view: there is no subject to which a man can more fitly give his attention, for it deals with the greatest problems that confront his soul. Melville’s approach to them was not intellectual, but emotional; he thought as he did because he felt as he did; but this does not prevent many of his reflections from being memorable. I should have thought that deliberately to write an allegory required an intellectual detachment of which Melville was incapable.

Professor Stoll has shown how ridiculous and contradictory are the symbolic interpretations of Moby Dick that have been hurled at the heads of an inoffensive public. He has done it so conclusively that there is no need for me to enlarge upon the topic. In defence of these critics, however, I would say this: the novelist does not copy life, he arranges it to suit his purpose. He disposes of the data given him according to the peculiarity of his own temperament. He draws a coherent pattern, but the pattern he draws varies according to the attitude, interests and idiosyncrasy of the reader. According to your proclivities, you may take a snow-clad Alpine peak, as it rises to the empyrean in radiant majesty, as a symbol of man’s aspiration to union with the Infinite; or since, if you like to believe that, a mountain range may be thrown up by some violent convulsion in the earth’s depths, you may take it as a symbol of the dark and sinister passions of man that lour to destroy him; of, if you want to be in the fashion, you may take it a phallic symbol. Newton Arvin regards Ahab’s ivory leg as “an equivocal symbol both of his impotence and of the independent male principle directed cripplingly against him”, and the white whale as “the archetypal Parent; the father, yes, but the mother also, so far as she becomes a substitute for the father”. For Ellery Sedgwick[3], who claims that it is its symbolism that makes the book great, Ahab is “Man – Man sentient, speculative, purposive, religious, standing his full stature against the immense mystery of creation. His antagonist, Moby Dick, is that immense mystery. He is not the author of it, but is identical with that galling impartiality in the laws and lawlessness of the universe which Isaiah devoutly fathered on the Creator.” Lewis Mumford[4] takes Moby Dick as a symbol of evil, and Ahab’s conflict with him as the conflict of good and evil in which good is finally vanquished. There is a certain plausibility in this, and it accords well with Melville’s moody pessimism.

But allegories are awkward animals to handle; you can take them by the head or by the tail, and it seems to me that an interpretation quite contrary is equally possible. Why should it be assumed that Moby Dick is a symbol of evil? It is true that Melville causes Ishmael, the narrator, to adopt Ahab’s crazy passion to revenge himself on the dumb beast that had maimed him; but that is a literary artifice which he had to make use of, first, because there was Starbuck already there to represent common sense, and second, because he needed someone to share, and to an extent sympathize with, Ahab’s tenacious purpose, and so induce the reader to accept it as not quite unreasonable. Now, the “empty malice” of which Professor Mumford speaks consists in Moby Dick defending himself when he is attacked.

“Cet animal est très méchant,
Quand on l’attaque, il se défend.”

Why should the White Whale not represent goodness rather than evil? Splendid in beauty, vast in size, great in strength, he swims the seas in freedom. Ahab, with his insane pride, is pitiless, harsh, cruel and vindictive; he is evil; and when the final encounter comes and Ahab and his crew of “mongrel renegades, castaways and cannibals” is destroyed, and the White Whale, imperturbable, justice having been done, goes his mysterious way, evil has been vanquished and good at last triumphed. This seems to me as plausible an interpretation as any other; for let us not forget that Typee is a glorification of the noble savage, uncorrupted by the vices of civilization, and that Melville looked upon the natural man as good.

Fortunately Moby Dick may be read, and read with intense interest, without a thought of what allegorical or symbolic significance it may or may not have. I cannot repeat too often that a novel is not to be read for instruction or edification, but for intelligent enjoyment, and if you find you cannot get this from it you had far better not read it at all. But it must be admitted that Melville seems to have done his best to hinder his readers’ enjoyment. He was writing a strange, original and thrilling story, but a perfectly straightforward one. The romantic beginning is admirable. Your interest is aroused and held. The characters, as they are introduced one by one, are clearly presented, alive and plausible. The tension rises and, with the acceleration of the action, your excitement increases. The climax is intensely dramatic. It is hard to understand why Melville should have deliberately sacrificed the grip he had got on his readers by pausing here and there to write chapters dealing with the natural history of the whale, its size, skeleton, amours and so forth. It is as senseless, on the face of it, as it would be for a man telling a story over the dinner table to stop now and then to tell you the etymological meaning of some word he had used. Montgomery Belgion, in a judicious introduction to an edition of Moby Dick[6], has supposed that since it is a tale of pursuit, and the end of a pursuit must be perpetually delayed, Melville wrote these chapters merely to do so. I cannot believe that. Had he had any such purpose, during the three years he spent in the Pacific he must surely have witnessed incidents, or been told tales, that he could have woven into his narrative more fitly to effect it. I myself think that Melville wrote these chapters for the simple reason that, like many another self-educated man, he attached an exaggerated importance to the knowledge he had so painfully acquired and could not resist the temptation to parade it, just as in his earlier writings he “called up Burton, Shakespeare, Byron, Milton, Coleridge and Chesterfield, as well as Prometheus and Cinderella, Mahomet and Cleopatra, Madonna and Houris, Medici and Mussulman, to stew carelessly across his pages.”

For my part, I can read most of these chapters with interest, but it cannot be denied that they are digressions which sadly impair the tension. Melville lacked what the French call l’esprit de suite, and it would be stupid to assert that the novel is well-constructed. But if he composed it in the way he did, it is because that is how he wanted it. You must take it or leave it. He knew very well that Moby Dick would not please. He was of an obstinate temper, and it may be that the neglect of the public, the savage onslaught of the critics, and the lack of understanding in those nearest to him only confirmed him in his determination to write exactly as he chose. You must put up with his vagaries, his faulty taste, his ponderous playfulness, his errors of construction, for the sake of his excellencies, the frequent splendour of his language, his vivid and thrilling descriptions of action, his delicate sense of beauty and the tragic power of his “mystic” ponderings which, perhaps because he was somewhat muddleheaded, with no striking gift of ratiocination, for just that reason are emotionally impressive. But, of course, it is the sinister and gigantic figure of Captain Ahab that pervades the book and gives it its unique force. You must go to the Greek dramatists for anything like that sense of doom with which everything you are told about him fills you, and to Shakespeare to find beings of such terrible power. It is because Herman Melville created him that, notwithstanding any reservation one may make, Moby Dick is a great book.

I have said, and said again, that in order to get a real insight into a great novel you must know what there is to be known about the man who wrote it. I have an idea that in the case of Melville something like the contrary obtains. When one reads, and re-reads, Moby Dick, it seems to me that one gets a more convincing, a more definite, impression of the man than from anything one may learn of his life and circumstances; an impression of a man endowed by nature with a great gift blighted by an evil genius, so that, like the agave, no sooner had it put forth its splendid blooming than it withered; a moody, unhappy man tormented by instincts he shrank from with horror; a man conscious that the virtue had gone out of him, and embittered by failure and poverty; a man of heart craving for friendship, only to find that friendship too was vanity. Such, as I see him, was Herman Melville, a man whom one can only regard with deep compassion.

[1] Elmer E. Stoll, “Symbolism in Moby-Dick”, Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 12, No. 3 (Jun., 1951), pp. 440-465.
[2] Raymond Weaver, Herman Melville: Mariner and Mystic, George H. Doran [1921], p. 16
[3] William Ellery Sedgwick, Herman Melville: The Tragedy of Mind, first published in 1944.
[4] Lewis Mumford, Herman Melville: A Study of His Life and Vision, Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1929. A Revised Edition appeared in 1956; too late for Maugham to make use of it in Ten Novels and Their Authors.
[5] “This animal is very malicious; when attacked it defends itself.”
[6] London: Cresset Press, 1946.
  WSMaugham | Jun 14, 2015 |
LIMITED EDITION, 1637/1750 ( )
  icre8dstny | May 31, 2015 |
Lê-lo até o fim costuma ser uma façanha. O meio do livro é realmente insuportável --- com seus enlouquecedores relatos de caça às baleias. Mas, (como Adam Roberts escreveu) "mesmo o tema mais maçante oferece a Melville a oportunidade de brilhar na escrita. Ele é fantástico. [...] É revelador que Moby Dick não apareça antes da página 494. A maior parte do livro é gasta em antecipação --- na verdade, o romance todo é uma antecipação. Nenhuma das perguntas antecipadas é respondida, afinal. Que fim levou Ismael, o narrador? No começo, ele interage com Queequeg e um estalajadeiro, depois, perdemo-lo de vista a bordo do Pequod --- onde não interage com quem quer que seja. Ninguém jamais se dirige a ele, que parece testemunhar eventos extremamente privados --- conferências nos aposentos do capitão, conversas a bordo de vários barcos, e - o que só pode ser conjectura - diálogos internos de outros personagens. Ismael é um fantasma? O que é e o que não é? De alguma forma, estas questões mascaram uma maior e mais importante. Nas palavras de Ismael: "Eu tento de tudo, logro o que posso." ( )
  jgcorrea | Apr 24, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 290 (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 (190 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Melville, Hermanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adler, Mortimer J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beaver, Harold LowtherEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
D'Agostino, NemiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Delbanco, AndrewIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fadiman, CliftonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jendis, MatthiasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kent, RockwellIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moser, BarryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muller, FrankNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mummendey, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pavese, CesareTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Quirk, TomCommentarysecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rathjen, FriedhelmTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robinson, BoardmanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schaeffer, MeadIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Turner, J.M.W.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walcutt, Charles ChildEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

Has the adaptation

Is abridged in


Has as a reference guide/companion

Has as a study

Has as a supplement

Has as a commentary on the text

Has as a student's study guide

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
There Leviathan, Hugest of living creatures, in the deep
Stretch'd like a promontory sleeps or swims,
And seems a moving land; and at his gills
Draws in, and at his breath spouts out a sea.
In token

of my admiration for his genius,

This Book is Inscribed


Nathaniel Hawthorne.
First words
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.
Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off — then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. ...from Chapter 1 : Loomings
"If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me."
All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event--in the living act, the undoubted deed—there, some unknown but still reasoning thing put forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask! How can the prisoner reach outside except by thrusting through the wall? To me, the white whale is that wall, shoved near to me. Sometimes I think there's naught beyond. But 'tis enough.
To the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee.
Last words
(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 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.
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Book description
1851 : Moby-Dick published

On this day in 1851, Moby-Dick, a novel by Herman Melville about the
voyage of the whaling ship Pequod, is published by Harper & Brothers
in New York. Moby-Dick is now considered a great classic of American
literature and contains one of the most famous opening lines in
fiction: "Call me Ishmael." Initially, though, the book about Captain
Ahab and his quest for a giant white whale was a flop.

Herman Melville was born in New York City in 1819 and as a young man
spent time in the merchant marines, the U.S. Navy and on a whaling
ship in the South Seas. In 1846, he published his first novel, Typee,
a romantic adventure based on his experiences in Polynesia. The book
was a success and a sequel, Omoo, was published in 1847. Three more
novels followed, with mixed critical and commercial results.
Melville's sixth book, Moby-Dick, was first published in October 1951
in London, in three volumes titled The Whale, and then in the U.S. a
month later. Melville had promised his publisher an adventure story
similar to his popular earlier works, but instead, Moby-Dick was a
tragic epic, influenced in part by Melville's friend and Pittsfield,
Massachusetts, neighbor, Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose novels include The
Scarlet Letter.

After Moby-Dick's disappointing reception, Melville continued to
produce novels, short stories (Bartleby) and poetry, but writing
wasn't paying the bills so in 1865 he returned to New York to work as
a customs inspector, a job he held for 20 years.

Melville died in 1891, largely forgotten by the literary world. By the
1920s, scholars had rediscovered his work, particularly Moby-Dick,
which would eventually become a staple of high school reading lists
across the United States. Billy Budd, Melville's final novel, was
published in 1924, 33 years after his death.

*Note: Information provided by History.com
Haiku summary
Call me Ishmael.
Score: Whale 1, Ahab 0.
I alone returned.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142437247, Paperback)

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. Written with wonderfully redemptive humor, Moby-Dick is a profound and timeless inquiry into character, faith, and the nature of perception.

@greatwhitetale Call me Ishmael. You could call me something else if you want, but since that’s my name, it would make sense to call me Ishmael.

Captain obsessed with finding a whale called Moby Dick. Sounds like the meanest VD ever, if you ask me. Sorry. Old joke. Couldn’t resist.

From Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:32 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Moby-Dick] is an 1851 novel by Herman Melville. The story tells the adventures of the wandering sailor Ishmael and his voyage on the whaleship Pequod, commanded by Captain Ahab. Ishmael soon learns that Ahab seeks one specific whale, Moby Dick, a white whale of tremendous size and ferocity. Comparatively few whaleships know of Moby Dick, and fewer yet have encountered him. In a previous encounter, the whale destroyed Ahab's boat and bit off his leg. Ahab intends to take revenge. -- Wikipedia.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 58 descriptions

Legacy Library: Herman Melville

Herman Melville has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

See Herman Melville's legacy profile.

See Herman Melville's author page.

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.83)
0.5 21
1 167
1.5 22
2 305
2.5 66
3 641
3.5 125
4 1026
4.5 152
5 1321


32 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0142437247, 0142000086, 0143105957, 0141198958

The Library of America

An edition of this book was published by The Library of America.

» Publisher information page

Candlewick Press

An edition of this book was published by Candlewick Press.

» Publisher information page

Library of America Paperback Classics

An edition of this book was published by Library of America Paperback Classics.

» Publisher information page

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

» Publisher information page


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 98,411,611 books! | Top bar: Always visible