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Moby-Dick (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 and up
  • Grade Level: 6 and up
  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (August 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486432157
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486432151
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,997 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Herman Melville (1819–1891) found early success with stories inspired by his adventures in the South Seas. His fortunes declined with the 1851 publication of Moby-Dick, now recognized as a masterpiece but scorned by Melville’s contemporaries. The author was obliged to work as a New York City customs inspector and died in obscurity, three decades before the critical reassessment of his work.


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Customer Reviews

I purchased this book for my son's summer reading.
Starqueen
Melville brings the characters alive and gives them depth as unique, vibrant individuals, each with a fascinating story of his own.
Larry
What sucks about this book are the asinine details and depth that Melville feels he needs to spend on a single topic.
G. Granger

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By C. Ackerman on September 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
If it were possible to simultaneously give a book one star and five stars, this book would deserve it. It's easy to see how people could hate it, and any teacher who assigns it is either brilliant or as mad as Captain Ahab. Being forced to read this could only be punishment. A friend of mine who had to read it years ago said it read like a whaling encyclopedia with a short story injected into it. This is pretty accurate. Indeed, the overwhelming amount of whaling data broke Melville's streak of commercially successful novels and his popularity never recovered in his lifetime.

For the first eighty or so pages, Moby Dick comes across as probably the queerest of nineteenth-century American novels, but then suddenly there is a chapter outlining all known whales and their physical characteristics. This is followed by chapters discussing things like the awfulness of Moby Dick's whiteness, which includes an exhausting list of every symbolic connotation for the color white that Melville can remember. And it doesn't stop. Ninety pages towards the end, when the Pequod finally encounters a ship that has recently spotted Moby Dick, you'd expect the next chapter to describe the crew racing to Ahab's nemesis. But no! There is a discussion of the skeleton of whales, including physical measurements and the location of known skeletons (like the whale museum in Hull, England). Not kidding. And then towards the end the dialogue starts sounding like Shakespeare and becomes extremely difficult to understand. I guess this was an attempt to convey a sense of tragedy, but it violates the realism the work had up to that point.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By B. Darakyan on February 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
Simply put, it takes good general knowledge/education to appreciate all the symbolism, imagery, and metaphor in this book (and even then you still will probably miss something that's been written). I won't get into all that because it's been beaten to death elsewhere. The other thing to remember is that Herman Melville himself served aboard a whaler. Maybe that's why he found it necessary to write about every last detail about life aboard a 19th century whaler. Otherwise yes, if you just are hungry for the story you probably could get away with reading the first and last hundred pages. That being said I found this a very enjoyable read. The chapters like some other reviews have mentioned are for the most part brief and go fast. And I think you will enjoy even the rather dry parts if you are a history buff like myself. Maybe like myself this book should be read at a distance from your formal education, that way your life experience/knowledge I feel will help in its enjoyment and interpretation, and you can come to your own conclusions about how much is really going on here, without the fear of getting a bad grade!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. D'Ambrosio on November 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Book is durable, print is just the right size. What can I say about the material. One of the greatest books written of all time and one of my favorites.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jacob Glicklich on June 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
There are a lot of fascinating things in this book: reflections on the nature of civilization, religion, obsession. A lot of it is surprisingly nuanced for a mid nineteenth century account, and delivers a story with a lot more ambiguity than I was expected. Unfrotunately, none of those are the central focus of the book, the essence of the authorial intent. That main intent is focused on providing an array of facts on whales and whaling. This element really grinds down the conventional story, both in the sheer length given the minutia of detail and the stalling of momentum the back and forth goes.

It's interesting to read this work in the light of hard science fiction, which similarly often carries huge amounts of exposition and background setting. I'm not sure if I can hold this piece as objectively more flawed because it's talking about details I'm not interested in, but at the end of the day I'm not terribly interested in whales, and feel the author went too far into his own specific interests in representation. That gives the book a strange kind of meta element to the Ahab obsession for which it is best known.

Still, I can't dismiss it entirely, and am at a level curious to see how similar Melville's other stuff is. I can believe from the strength of concept in visualizing many of the characters and the dramatic build that there's a great novel in him, but in the end this text is too padded, slow and disjointed to be a success.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was afraid that it would not come with the full edition but it did. It is always good to read the classics. I never thought I would like this book but it is my boyfriends favorite so I picked it up and started reading it and well I guess he has good taste.
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Format: Paperback
I was previously only going to give this book one star, but have altered my rating to two. This is due to the fact that it is a great novel for expanding your vocabulary, and you will have learned most of the Oxford English Dictionary descriptions of 19th Century adjectives, by the time you finish. The second reason is that the first few chapters are relatively entertaining. However! after the sea voyage begins, the entire book becomes one laborious, eclectic mix, of nonsensical, monotonous rambling.

This is definitely the most boring piece of literature that I have ever read. Avoid like the plague.
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