"Call me Ishmael."
With this famous first line begins a novel that Melville himself called "a romance of adventure." Set sail with Captain Ahab as he deftly maneuvers the Pequod across the ocean, hunting his prey. He is a man bent on revenge against the ever-elusive white whale that took his leg. Blineded by his ego-maniacal illusions of invincibility, he recklessly pursues Moby Dick, dragging an ill-fated crew in his wake men bound to him by awe and terror alike. Relentless in his quest, Ahab believes Moby Dick to be the incarnation of evil and will not rest until that evil is extinguished. Will he triumph? Can Moby Dick, the monster of the sea and the embodiment of man's never ending struggle against nature, be destroyed?
Narrated by Ishmael, a member of the Pequod crew, readers are given intimate details of the excitement of whale hunting, the quirks of the ship crew, the mystery of Ahab and the grandeur of Moby Dick. Brought to life with beautiful prose and a wealth of interesting historical facts, and blended with nonstop action adventure, "Moby Dick" is sure to deliver a thrill ride that won't soon be forgotten.
Author Herman Melville was born in New York City on August 1, 1819.
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.