"Call me Ishmael" is one of the most familiar and oft-quoted opening lines ever written. Although it was originally published in 1851 to little success or acclaim, Moby Dick is generally regarded as Herman Melville's masterpiece and in many circles as the Great American Novel.
Melville's epic story of Captain Ahab's obsessive hunt for the great white whale recalls Job in his quest for justice and Oedipus on his crusade for the truth. The tragic figure of Ahab, in whom virtuous and murderous impulses coexist, speaks for the defeats and triumphs of the human spirit. The richness of Melville's prose and the story's sweep are Shakespearean in their grandeur and symbolic power. Moby Dick remains the measure of literary achievement against which all subsequent American novels must be measured.
This edition of Moby Dick is the companion volume to the Hallmark Entertainment television presentation, broadcast on USA Network.
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The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foun-dation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hard-bound editions of important works of liter-ature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torchbearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inau-gurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.
About the Author
Herman Melville was an American novelist, poet, and lecturer best known for his classic novel Moby-Dick, as well as for his short fiction "Bartleby, the Scrivener," and the unfinished "Billy Budd, Sailor." Educated as a teacher and later as an engineer, Melville's writing was heavily influenced by his time aboard the whaling ship Acushnet, and his month-long captivity by Typee natives on Nuka Hiva island. Although Melville experienced success early in his writing career, public indifference to his masterpiece, Moby-Dick, resulted in waning attention, and his work was almost entirely disregarded by the time of this death in 1891. Melville's work experienced a revival in the early twentieth century, and he is now considered one of the pre-eminent American writers of his time. He is also one of the most-studied novelists, and was the first writer to be collected and published by the Library of America.