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Moby-Dick: or, The Whale (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Paperback – September 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics Deluxe Editio
  • Paperback: 672 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 150 Anv edition (September 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142000086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142000083
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (550 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #275,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–9—In this beautifully designed adaptation of the classic novel, Needle sticks largely to Melville's original wording, but leaves out lengthy passages on whaling and the day-to-day workings of a seafaring voyage. New passages are delineated with an italicized font, and the tale flows fairly seamlessly between the original text and Needle's interspersed summaries and commentary. Although this is technically an abridgement, the length and complexity of Melville's text plus Needle's commentary direct it to an intermediate audience. Handsome pencil, ink, and watercolor illustrations on nearly every spread evoke the vastness and unfathomable mystery of the sea, varying from black and white to full color. A glossary and cross-section of a whaling ship assist in understanding the tale. This version of the story is for readers who want to read Moby-Dick, with its intriguing characters and thrilling adventure, but are perhaps not ready for the full-length tale.—Shelley B. Sutherland, Niles Public Library, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

November 14 marks the 150th anniversary of Melville's salty saga of vengeance and obsession. Now a contender for the great American novel, this book was harpooned at the time of its 1851 publication by critics who found it overly long and boorish (observations no doubt still shared by countless high school students). They felt that like Ahab, the story didn't have much of a leg to stand on. The once lucrative whaling industry also was in its death throes and of little interest to readers. The book was forgotten for decades before being rediscovered in the 1920s by scholars who understood and appreciated the multilevel symbolism and allegory dismissed by their 19th-century predecessors. Melville published little after the failure of Moby-Dick and made his living as a customs inspector in New York City, where he was born in 1819 and died in complete obscurity in 1891. He is buried in the Bronx. This edition of his masterwork includes the full text along with illustrations of whales, whaling barks, and whaling instruments; maps; and a new introduction by Nathaniel Philbrick. A lot for the price.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

Here's to you, Moby Dock!
E. Rotheram
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

167 of 175 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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