- Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd; Edition Unstated edition (December 5, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1853260088
- ISBN-13: 978-1853260087
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3,127 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Moby Dick (Wordsworth Classics) Edition Unstated Edition
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"Responsive to the shaping forces of his age as only men of passionate imagination are, even Melville can hardly have been fully aware of how symbolical an American hero he had fashioned in Ahab."
--F. O. Matthiessen
From the Trade Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
A young seaman joins the crew of the whaling ship Pequod, let by the fanatical Captain Ahab in pursuit of the white whale Moby Dick in this children's version of Melville's Moby Dick.
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Capacious. That is the word that repeats again and again in my head. Moby-Dick is a vibrantly colored hot air balloon that keeps growing in size as I read it. First, Melville's subject is the sperm whale, the largest creature on earth. But we don't just learn about the sperm whale but about all whales. Then we learn about whaling and its nobility. Here is where it gets very interesting. We participate in whaling, its skill, equipment, courage, risks and economy AND about how it results in the gruesome destruction of the whale. We feel the horror inflicted on the whales and we feel the nobility of the activity that slaughters them. Melville doesn't allow us to avert our eyes either to the daring of whaling or to the viciousness of the slaughter. That is where the book inflates even more because he holds both perspectives equally which is a much larger place than if he had taken sides.
The book also foreshadows modernism by using a variety of narrative techniques; theater, pure narration, encyclopedic explanations and subjective interior monologues. Melville is constantly breaking up the narrative with omniscient recitations of fascinating information about his subject matter. And like Ulysses or the Waste Land, he piles on the reference to Shakespeare, the Greeks, Christianity and the Hebrew traditions.
There are many references with regard to Ahab and the Whale regarding evil and Satan. Yet Ahab has great respect and reverence for Moby Dick. Ahab himself knows he is obsessed and but can have great compassion like his feelings for the lowly addled Pip. So yes there is evil afoot in the book but it isn't the kind that that creates simple polar opposites. As Ahab describes Moby-Dick (has) `an inscrutable malice sinewing through it' that describe the book as well. There is evil and there is also goodness that coexists in the book making the reader feel that he has to take sides. If the reader resists this temptation he or she will experience the awe of a deep and ever expanding mystery.
Anyway, I'll simply cut right to the chase- while I'd been reading the graphic depictions of the whale, I was traveling upon a most disturbing journey within the mind of the relentless, monomaniacal Captain Ahab. The loss of half of one of Ahab's legs is a loss that shatters this man's sane and rational thinking to its very core. Forget about killing whales for profit-Ahab holds a personal, if not murderous, grudge against the beast that tore off his limb. And in the process, Ahab's crew suffers the tragic and deadly consequences of his vengefully insane actions.
The moral of this classic, epic novel can teach us all the painful, yet most valuable lesson of the futility of holding onto personal grudges, as it only further fuels one's bitterness, which then turns to lust for vengeance. And whether or not that vengeance is satisfied, a man can only suffer his greatest downfall: the destruction of his very soul.
This edition is beautiful: All edges of the textblock are gilt in mirror-bright gold; the cover is understated with an abstract illustration of the whale and a simple serif title. The book's dust jacket is colored a soft, inviting, powder-blue and that same color shades the cover boards and the silk ribbon marker. A floral pattern of oak leaves and acorns adorn the front-and-end pages. This same oak/acorn pattern is embossed on the front cloth board giving the book a very classic look.
This edition of Moby Dick is full, unabridged, and unexpurgated. There is an afterword by Nigel Cliff, a historian of maritime exploration. The text itself is laid out plainly (a plus) and the form factor of the book overall is very conducive to read in one hand (the book measures approximately 6"x4"x1.5"). They've chosen a serif font (probably Garamond or Times Roman) and the bright white pages make the smallish text highly readable (I'd say it's about 9-10 point font).
Overall, a lovely edition of Moby Dick; a treasure you'll pass along to a grandchild. Great work from MacMillan on bringing such a high quality edition to the public for the low price of ~$12.00 (depending on where you buy it: the MSRP printed on the jacket is $14.99).