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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 (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: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


'In his great whaling epic Melville roamed both the seas, and the secret places of men's minds. In the alternate playfulness and ferocity of the great white whale he found the perfect metaphor within which to develope his views on life, death and God.' The Sunday Times

'An attractive edition to a field rather overcrowded with inexpensive editions. However, the Hawthorne material gives this one an edge.' Andrew Lyman, Leicester University. ' Much better annotations than any other available edition.' H. Merritt, CCAT Cambridge.

About the Author

Herman Melville (1819-1891) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist and poet.

Customer Reviews

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See all 28 customer reviews
The font and print quality is good as well.
In fact, There are many times I wondered why I was torturing myself like this and frankly, I did not get to see the end of this book.
Daisy W. Ngige
The characters breath on the page and the storytelling is inimitable.
Roger Weston

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By steve_oakland VINE VOICE on July 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
I somehow avoided having to read this in high school or college, and wanted to give it a shot. After struggling through the first chapter and growing accustomed to the style of writing in the book, I was rewarded with a very intriguing book. I was surprised by the thoughtfulness and detail of some portions of the book, and surprised by Melville's descriptions of whales -- anthropomorphizing them through detailed discussions of their anatomy and behavior.

Obviously, as a classic, this is available from many publishers. This edition, while still a paperback, has substance to it being printed on quality paper. The font and print quality is good as well. If you are reading a long novel such as Moby-Dick, you'll want to invest in a quality edition such as this one to avoid unnecessary strain on your eyes.

The downside of this edition is the rambling and pretentious introduction that contributes little to helping a first-time reader understand the book. Not everyone who reads classics such as Moby-Dick are literary scholars, and I wish publishers would someday understand that and have a more lively and informative modern introduction.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By K. Josic on June 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Well, I finally finished it - and as many here have said already, it is an
experience both uplifting and frustrating. There are truly wonderful parts
in the book, and the last few chapters are unbelievable. But, some of
the parts were just too much for me: pages on pages on the categorization
of "whales", and arguments about why they are fish, details about the
properties and use of every part of their body, etc., etc. However, then you are hit
with stuff that you simply marvel over, that lets you see the English language
in a completely new light. Maybe you cannot have one without the other.

In any case, I think I will have to return to this book - one reading is probably
not enough. But it will be a while before I work up my courage
to do it all over again.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Martin Zook on February 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
Do we really "get" Moby Dick?

Quite a body of scholarly work has developed around it since it initially languished until well into the 20th century. But I wonder how well we understand it, yet.

A professor I greatly respected at school, who taught Milton and Shakespeare, referred to it at "that fish story." Others (see reviews here) harp on the cetacean chapters and some readers skip those. And in the age of 150 character messages, Moby Dick presents us with a demanding tapestry or mandala that requires much work to appreciate its vision.

I began to understand it when my brother the architect read it while riding out a high fever while vacationing at the beach. His fever broke and he came down to the beach and plopped in the chair next to me and delivered one of the most knowledgeable discourses I have come across. Unfortunately, it was not recorded and it is now lost to us. But I do remember his general point that Moby Dick's vision is that of a quest to bring the white whale to the surface of our consciousness using all the tools of questing that have been employed through the millennia, including myth, religion, commerce, philosophy, and shamanism, to name a few.

To address the quibble about the scientific quest for the whale, this "boring" diversion can no more be eliminated than the other tools that Melville so deftly employs. For instance, can we rid the story of the The Sermon chapter? And if that, what about the description of Queequeg's shamanism? Or shall we scuttle the passages that describe the commercial elements of the quest, or how about the political debate between Ahab and Starbuck? How can one quest for the quite white whale without harpoons?
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By tepi on February 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
Herman Melville, Moby Dick (Oxford World's Classics). Edited with an Introduction and Notes by Tony Tanner. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008 (1st published in 1988). Paperback. lii + 527 pages. ISBN: 0199535728.

The Oxford World's Classics series has established a reputation for publishing excellent editions and this book is no exception. Besides being given a text of 'Moby Dick' which follows the American first edition of 1851, supplementary material includes a Bibliography, a Chronology of Herman Melville, an Appendix containing some curious letters of Melville to Nathaniel Hawthorne, Explanatory Notes, and a truly superb 20-page Introduction by the editor, Tony Tanner.

Moby Dick has been described as one of the greatest books in the English language and anyone who starts to read it will soon agree that is also one of the most profound and perplexing of books because ultimately it has to be seen as dealing with the most difficult problem of all, the problem of existence. The struggle to understand 'Moby Dick,' however, has in our case been greatly eased by Tony Tanner's wonderfully insightful and informative Introduction.

A great deal of literary criticism is, sad to say, not particularly helpful. I know because over the years I've had to read innumerable Introductions, and critical essays and articles, and there are few that one comes away from with a truly enhanced understanding of their subject.

I can assure readers, however, that Tony Tanner's Introduction is an outstanding exception; it is a truly brilliant and valuable piece of criticism, solid and thorough and with not a wasted word, and is itself so far as I am concerned worth the price of the book.
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