The original 'Great American Novel', Herman Melville's Moby-Dick is a masterful study of obsession. This Penguin Classics edition contains an introduction by Andrew Delblanco, with explanatory commentary by Tom Quirk. 'Call me Ishmael.' So begins Herman Melville's masterpiece, one of the greatest works of imagination in literary history. As Ishmael is drawn into Captain Ahab's obsessive quest to slay the white whale Moby-Dick, he finds himself engaged in a metaphysical struggle between good and evil. More than just a novel of adventure, more than an paean to whaling lore and legend, Moby-Dick is a haunting social commentary, populated by some of the most enduring characters in literature; the crew of the Pequod, from stern, Quaker First Mate Starbuck, to the tattooed Polynesian harpooner Queequeg, are a vision of the world in microcosm, the pinnacle of Melville's lifelong meditation on America. Written with wonderfully redemptive humour, Moby-Dick is a profound, poetic inquiry into character, faith, and the nature of perception. Based on the Northwestern University Press edition, this Penguin Classics edition includes a critical introduction by Andrew Delbanco, as well as valuable explanatory notes, maps, illustrations and a glossary of nautical terms. Herman Melville is now regarded as one of America's greatest novelists. Much of the material for his novels was drawn from his own experience as a seaman aboard whaling ships. He wrote his masterpiece Moby-Dick in 1851, and died in 1891. If you enjoyed Moby-Dick, you may like Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote, also available in Penguin Classics. 'After reading Moby-Dick, you will have enhanced your sense of wonder, you will have increased the size of your universe' E. M. Forster 'One of the strangest and most wonderful books in the world ... It moves awe in the soul' D. H. Lawrence.
About the Author
Herman Melville (1819-1891), novelist and poet, was born in New York City. Working with Romantic materials of primitivism, individualism, nature and the Gothic, Melville produced a body of fiction that analyzed reality in both its social and metaphysical dimensions. He is best known for his masterpiece, Moby Dick.
Andrew Delbanco is the Mendelson Family Chair of American Studies and the Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. His many books include "Melville: His World and Work" (Vintage), which won the Lionel Trilling Award and was a finalist for the "Los Angeles Times" book prize in biography. He is a recipient of the 2011 National Humanities Medal for his writing that spans the literature of Melville and Emerson to contemporary issues in higher education.
Tom Quirk is a professor of English at the University of Missouri, Columbia.