Moby-Dick, or, The whale

English language

Published Jan. 4, 1992 by Penguin Books.

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A Neglected American Classic Well Worth Reading

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"Moby Dick or The Whale" by Herman Melville is much more than an adventure story. It is nothing less than an examination of the place of humans in the Universe that can be read on multiple levels.

If you have seen the 1956 movie, you know the plot and spectacular ending. But this is not a modern novel, and Melville's ambition was much greater than a simple adventure story. He encompassed the world of the early 1850s. The endless sea becomes a stand-in for the Infinite, and the quest for the white whale becomes the human struggle against powers far beyond man's ken.

The book is based on Melville's own experiences as a whaler in the 1840s and includes many details about that life, including how to butcher a sperm whale. In many ways the book is surprisingly modern. For instance, it envisions a society where race does not exist. …

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