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Moby Dick (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – May 15, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (May 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199535728
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199535729
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (548 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5 Up-Opening with the classic line, "Call me Ishmael," the narrator's New England accent adds a touch of authenticity to this sometimes melodramatic presentation. The St. Charles Players do a credible job on the major roles, but some of the group responses, such as "Aye, aye Captain," sound more comic than serious. This adaptation retains a good measure of Melville's dialogue and key passages which afford listeners a vivid connection with the lengthy novel. Background music and appropriate sound effects enhance the telling of the story about Captain Ahab's obsessive pursuit of the malevolent white whale. The cassettes are clearly marked, and running times are noted on each side of the tapes. Announcements at the beginning of each side and a subtle chime signal at the end make it easy to follow the story, but a stereo player must be used to hear some dialogue. The lightweight cardboard package is inadequate for circulation. Done in a radio theatre format, the recording does a nice job of introducing the deeper themes of the book and covering the major events. For school libraries that support an American literature curriculum, this recording offers a different interpretation of an enduring classic.
Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library. Rocky Hill, CT
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

From Library Journal

In a sense, this work is the piece de resistance of the textual revolution in American scholarship of the past generation. The first half is the final MLA "Approved Text" of the classic novel, prepared under the auspices of the Center for Editions of American Authors. The second half consists of an Historical Note detailing background, genetic composition, publication, and ensuing critical reception; a discussion of its textual history; and some relevant marginalia. The work is not only thorough and rigorous, but, considering the scholarly grittiness of the endeavor, surprisingly lucid and graceful in its exposition. Highly recommended for special collections. Earl Rovit, City Coll., CUNY
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Find out if you can get to know the book a page at a time.
James M. Rawley
Melville senses the sun and stars are part of his story, and equally so the bones and guts of a whale, so he makes them characters.
mulcahey
I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a good read, whether a classic buff or not.
UniversityDoc

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

166 of 174 people found the following review helpful By TJ on March 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
Last year I decided to expand my intellectual horizons by reading a series of American literary classics. Moby Dick was the first book on my list. It took me three months to finish this legendary story and, looking back on it now, I must say that it was worth every minute. To others who are considering this effort I say this: buttress your stamina and open your mind. This is not John Grisham or Tom Clancy. You will be reading high literature and you will be required to think. If you do so, Ishmael, Ahab and crew will open a window to some of mankind's most profound questions: Is it better to fight evil or promote virtue? Where is the line between honorable justice and blind vengeance? Do bad things happen because the universe is evil or just indifferent? The true pleasure to be derived from reading this book can be found by closing its pages every so often and reflecting on the questions that it will raise in your mind. A completely different experience than breezing through the latest best-seller, but much more rewarding.
Be aware that Moby Dick is many types of books in one. It is part adventure story, part sermon, part history of whaling, part encyclopedia of whale anatomy, part metaphysical allegory. Expect it to change periodically as you move through it, be receptive to each part, and don't try to compartmentalize it as any one particular type of work.
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123 of 130 people found the following review helpful By TonyJF on December 28, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I haven't finished reading the entire book, so I can't comment on the whole thing. But, there is at least one whole section omitted from this version: In the chapter "The Sermon", the hymn sung by the sailors is missing. While this omission does not necessarily detract from the story in a significant way, I like a "classic" such as this one to be complete.
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142 of 156 people found the following review helpful By mulcahey on October 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
Forget everything you have heard or think you know about this book. What it decidedly is not is the story of a one-legged madman pursuing a whale for revenge.

Do not give this book to high-school students. Have them read THE AENEID, the prophet Isaiah, a few scenes of HAMLET, so that when they are forty and MOBY-DICK falls into their hands, they will recognize at least some of its underpinnings.

MOBY-DICK is as weird and far-ranging as Scripture, and stakes out the same terrority, namely heaven, hell, earth, mortality, joy, flesh, eternity, the soul. Ahab is no more mad than Edmund in KING LEAR: the real madman of MOBY-DICK is Melville himself. But he can only have been unhinged by an angel, so sweeping is the power of his imagination.

It's perverse to look on the shape and construction of MOBY-DICK as radical, innovative, foreshadowing such moderns as Joyce; it's like calling Revelations "innovative." Melville has no such aim and has no interest in technique. Indeed, he has few "literary" virtues. His language is dense, syntactically clumsy, exhausting, over-precise to the point there's no telling what precisely is being said. No human being could speak the dialogue that erupts from the mouths of its personages: it's like opera, or the dialogue in PARADISE LOST. It has a more urgent, essential motive than speech. It's the soul speaking.

MOBY-DICK is nothing so trivial as a literary experiment. It aims for wholeness, concreteness; it wants to be about everything, inside and out, and its eye is everywhere. Melville senses the sun and stars are part of his story, and equally so the bones and guts of a whale, so he makes them characters.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Kimball on October 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
I'm an old man. And the sea is something I know nothing about. So call me ignorant. Still, nearly 60, I just read this book for the first time and it is unquestionably the best novel I have ever read, equal to any poem or drama. I believe you have to have lived a little and maybe even tried your hand at expressing yourself artistically to really appreciate this book. I don't think it's for young people - definitely not for most teenagers, and probably not for most college-level students, unless you want to discourage them. It almost makes arthritis worth while.

The latest volume of "Best American Poems" has a work by Thomas Lux, originally published in Five Points, called "Eyes Scooped Out and Replaced by Hot Coals". That is his proposed punishment for anyone who hasn't read Moby Dick by their mid-20's. While it's a clever and humerous way to make a point, this Pol Pot approach to literary education is viewed positively by many teachers and helps explain why so many people end up with a negative attitude towards a book of this stature.

Just consider the sea-nario: You are weary of the everyday world, and decide to sign-on with a whaling ship to get a little therapy. The ship's captain is a madman. That right there is enough. And consider the historical significance. Moby Dick was written right around the same time that science really began to explode, and we were entering the modern period of capitalism and capitalists (our new Ahabs). For the first time in human history, there were thousands of regular working people - some of them artists - who had literally traveled the entire globe on whalers and knew many parts of it well. These same conditions, of course, soon led to the demise - or rather the replacement - of whale oil for its traditional uses.
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