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Moby Dick: or the Whale (Modern Library) Hardcover – September 5, 1992

ISBN-13: 978-0863076732 ISBN-10: 0679600108

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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library
  • Hardcover: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library (September 5, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679600108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0863076732
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 6.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #284,861 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 an alternate Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

Many times, Melville hits the reader as hard as he can with symbolism, so that it is easy to get the reference.
Jeffrey Leach
The short of it - if you want to take a shortcut, read just the last three chapters and that will get you about 90% of everything you've ever heard about this book.
C. J. Wellman
Melville includes much on the science of whales,at the time of writing this novel, and the art of Whale hunting.
Daniel Wright

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

501 of 525 people found the following review helpful By Adam Roberts on January 18, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Finishing "Moby Dick" goes up there with my greatest (and few) academic achievements. It was a gruelling read, but---in the end---completely worthwhile.
I've been reading it for 6 months. I started over the summer, during an abroad program in Oxford, and I remember sitting outside reading when one of the professors came over, saw what I was reading, and said: "It's a very strange book, isn't it?"
Looking back, that might be the best way to describe it. The blurb from D.H. Lawrence on the back cover agrees: Moby Dick "commands a stillness in the soul, an awe...[it is] one of the strangest and most wonderful books in the world."
Now there are those who will say that the book's middle is unbearable---with its maddeningly detailed accounts of whaling. Part of me agrees. That was the hardest to get through. But, still, even the most dull subject offers Melville an opportunity to show off his writing chops. He's a fantastic writer---his text most resembles that of Shakespeare.
And, like one Shakespeare's characters, Melville sees all the world as a stage.
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176 of 184 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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168 of 177 people found the following review helpful By Caraculiambro on July 13, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Unless you are a naval historian or a Melville scholar, you probably won't have a rewarding (or even comprehensible) time with Moby-Dick at this remove unless the edition you're using comes with a good set of footnotes. Here's the skinny on the various editions currently on shelves:

THESE HAVE FOOTNOTES ON THE PAGE ITSELF:

* Charles Feidelson, Jr.'s annotated edition. Unquestionably the most all-around useful edition of Moby-Dick ever printed. Generous and highly useful footnotes right on the page, covering lexical, allusional, and cross-referential items. Two disadvantages: you may at times feel put upon by Feidelson's interlarded interpretations, and the thing is totally out of print. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1964. ISBN: 067260311X

* The "Norton critical" edition, edited by Parker and Hayford. The edition most widely employed by scholars. Stingier with the footnotes than Feidelson, but still a good second choice. Many useful essays at the end. The layout of the text is a bit hard on the eye, though. Make sure you get the SECOND edition, from 2001. ISBN: 0393972836

* The "Barnes and Noble Classics" edition. The footnotes for the most part are skimpy and confined to obscure vocabulary, not cultural and literary allusions. ISBN: 1-59308-018-2

THESE HAVE A FOOTNOTES SECTION IN THE BACK OF THE BOOK:

* The "Oxford World Classics" edition. About 11 pp. at the end. ISBN: 0-19-283385-5

* The "Modern Library" edition. About 13 pp. at the end. ISBN: 0-679-78327-X

* The "Penguin Classics" edition. About 15 pp. of notes at the end by Tom Quirk. ISBN: 0-14-24.3724-7 (This is their fancy hardbound version: see next item.)

* The "Penguin Classics" edition. About 15 pp.
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129 of 136 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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