An award-winning author and illustrator bring Melville's masterpiece to life for a new generation of readers in a stunning gift edition.
A tragic tale of obsession and revenge set against the unforgiving sea, Herman Melville's MOBY-DICK has now been expertly edited and generously illustrated for the twenty-first-century reader. Here are the mad whaling captain Ahab, the all-observant narrator Ishmael, and the mysterious, invincible white whale himself, and here are scenes of peril and carnage, nobility and redemption — presented in Melville's original language, threaded together with passages of summary by renowned author Jan Needle. Lavish artwork by Patrick Benson, one of the finest children's illustrators working today, captures the timeless spirit of this extraordinary classic.
About the Author
Herman Melville's reputation was immediately established in 1846 with the publication of his first novel, Typee, yet for the most part he lived in near-seclusion and died in relative obscurity for a man of his talents. He wasn't fully appreciated until the 20th century. The conservative religious Americans of his day didn't trust him: his unorthodoxy regarding religion, his South Seas travels, his cynicism, his bitter criticism of the hypocrisy of missionaries, and his satires of religion and religious figures made him an outcast. Today, however, some critics claim that only Dostoyevsky is his equal among 19th century writers. At seventeen, he became a merchant seaman, sailing first to Liverpool, where the sexual activity at the docks at first shocked him but then opened up a new world for him, for he was attracted to men. At age twenty-one, he sailed to the South Pacific. Four novels came from this experience: Typee, Omoo, Mardi, and White Jacket. Another early novel, Redburn, is set primarily aboard ship. Philosophically, the strength of his early novels is his disdain for the white man trying to force civilization onto a people who were blissfully happy without it. He particularly objected to the indoctrination of religion. All of the books contain an undeniable homoeroticism. Melville moved to the countryside to write Moby Dick. The novel is an adventure story and a tale of revenge, but it is also an audacious experiment. The reaction from critics was so harsh that from the publication of Moby Dick in 1851 until about 1938, Melville was not afforded much respect among scholars. In 1852, Melville published Pierre, which is autobiographical in its anatomy of the despair Melville was feeling at the rejection of Moby Dick. Pierre was scandalous for its day, almost as if Melville were thumbing his nose at society. Melville was now only thirty-two but considered a failed writer. His next story was refused for publication, so he retired and lived in relative obscurity for the remainder of his days. When he died, however, he left Billy Budd, which some critics think the equal of Moby Dick.
Jan Needle, a native of Portsmouth, England, has had a lifelong interest in naval history. He is the author of four acclaimed novels under the pseudonym Frank Kippax, and also has a highly successful career as a TV scriptwriter and, under his own name, as a writer of award-winning children's fiction.
Patrick Benson won the Mother Goose Award for his illustration of William Mayne's "Hob Stories". He has illustrated more than twenty books, including "Owl Babies" by Martin Waddell and "Mole and the Baby Bird" by Marjorie Newman, a Christopher Award winner.