On a previous voyage, a mysterious white whale had ripped off the leg of a sea captain named Ahab. Now the crew of the Pequod, on a pursuit that features constant adventure and horrendous mishaps, must follow the mad Ahab into the abyss to satisfy his unslakeable thirst for vengeance. Narrated by the cunningly observant crew member Ishmael, Moby-Dick is the tale of the hunt for the elusive, omnipotent, and ultimately mystifying white whale-Moby Dick. On its surface, Moby-Dick is a vivid documentary of life aboard a nineteenth-century whaler, a virtual encyclopedia of whales and whaling, replete with facts, legends, and trivia that Melville had gleaned from personal experience and scores of sources. But as the quest for the whale becomes increasingly perilous, the tale works on allegorical levels, likening the whale to human greed, moral consequence, good, evil, and life itself. Who is good? The great white whale who, like Nature, asks nothing but to be left in peace? Or the bold Ahab who, like scientists, explorers, and philosophers, fearlessly probes the mysteries of the universe? Who is evil? The ferocious, man-killing sea monster? Or the revenge-obsessed madman who ignores his own better nature in his quest to kill the beast? Scorned by critics upon its publication, Moby-Dick was publicly derided during its author's lifetime. Yet Melville's masterpiece has outlived its initial misunderstanding to become an American classic of unquestionably epic proportions. Includes unique illustrations
'I love Melville' Donna Tartt 'The ultimate fish story' Bob Dylan
Herman Melville was born in New York on 1 August 1819. He first went to sea at the age of nineteen on the St Lawrence which sailed from New York to Liverpool. He later worked as a teacher before taking to the seas again in 1841 on the whaleship Achushnet. After six months of sailing in the Pacific, Melville abandoned ship and lived among the natives of the Marquesas Islands for several weeks. This experience inspired his first book Typee (1846) which was published to great success. The sequel, Omoo, was published in 1847 and later that year Melville married Elizabeth Shaw. He published several other novels and poems, including his most famous work, Moby-Dick (1851), but his later works were not widely appreciated until long after his death. Moby-Dick is now considered one of the most important American novels of all time. Melville died on 28 September 1891.