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Moby Dick

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  387,085 Ratings  ·  10,743 Reviews
Moby Dick is the story of Captain Ahab's quest to avenge the whale that 'reaped' his leg. The quest is an obsession and the novel is a diabolical study of how a man becomes a fanatic. But it is also a hymn to democracy. Bent as the crew is on Ahab's appalling crusade, it is equally the image of a co-operative community at work: all hands dependent on all hands, each indivi ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published 1996 by Verbo (first published October 18th 1851)
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Thor I agree that The Whale is a reflection of many things; including our attempt to conquer nature. Most significantly, I see it as a symbol of nature…moreI agree that The Whale is a reflection of many things; including our attempt to conquer nature. Most significantly, I see it as a symbol of nature itself and our inability to conquer it without, first, losing our souls to that quest.(less)
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Community Reviews

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“Where the White Whale, yo?”

Ah, my first DBR. And possibly my last, as this could be a complete shit show. Approaching a review of Moby-Dick in a state of sobriety just wasn’t cutting it, though. So let’s raise our glasses to Option B, yeah?

I fucking love this book. It took me eight hundred years to read it, but it was so, so worth it. Melville’s writing is impeccable. The parallels he draws, even when he’s seemingly pulling them out of his ass, which I swear to God he’s doing, because who can f
Sep 08, 2008 Matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People I despise
Shelves: classic-novels
LISA: Dad, you can't take revenge on an animal. That's the whole point of Moby Dick.
HOMER: Oh Lisa, the point of Moby Dick is 'be yourself.'
-- The Simpsons, Season 15, Episode 5, “The Fat and the Furriest”

There, there. Stop your crying. You didn’t like Herman Melville’s Moby Dick? You didn't even finish it? I’m here to tell you, that’s okay. You’re still a good person. You will still be invited to Thanksgiving dinner. You won’t be arrested, incarcerated, or exiled. You will not be shunned (exce
Aug 03, 2008 Jamie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So, Herman Melville's Moby Dick is supposed by many to be the greatest Engligh-language novel ever written, especially among those written in the Romantic tradition. Meh.

It's not that I don't get that there's a TON of complexity, subtlety, and depth to this book about a mad captain's quest for revenge against a great white whale. And on the surface it's even a pretty darn good adventure story. And, honestly, Melville's prose is flowing, elegant, and as beautiful as any writing can possibly be. I
UPDATED! I re-read Moby-Dick following my research trips to the whaling museums of New Bedford and Nantucket whaling museums. The particular edition I read from University of California Press is HIGHLY recommended as the typeface is extremely agreeable to the eyes and the illustrations are subtle and instructive without ever interfering or drawing attention away from the story. Perhaps that’s where the latent interest grew deep in my soul as regards the whaling museums and since life offered me ...more
Apr 08, 2007 karen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: littry-fiction

i tried.

Both ends of the line are exposed; the lower end terminating in an eye-splice or loop coming up from the bottom against the side of the tub, and hanging over its edge completely disengaged from everything. This arrangement of the lower end is necessary on two accounts. First: In order to facilitate the fastening to it of an additional line from a neighboring boat, in case the stricken whale should sound so deep as to threaten to carry off the entire line originally attached to the harpoo
Bookdragon Sean
I hate this book so much. It is impossible to ignore the literary merit of this work though; it is, after all, a piece of innovative literature. Melville broke narrative expectations when he shed the narrator Ishmael and burst through with his infinite knowledge of all things whale. It was most creative, but then he pounded the reader with his knowledge of the whaling industry that could, quite literally, fill several textbooks. This made the book so incredibly dull. I’m not being naïve towards ...more
Jan 18, 2010 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There once was a grouchy alpha whale named Moby Dick who -- rather than being agreeably shorn of his blubber and having lumpy sperm scooped out of his cranium like cottage cheese -- chose life. Unlike so many shiftless, layabout sea mammals of his generation, Moby Dick did not go gentle into that good night. This whale, in short, was not a back-of-the-bus rider. He assailed a shallow, consumerist society, which objectified him only as lamp oil or corset ribbing, with the persuasive argument of h ...more
Esteban del Mal
Everyone eventually comes across the White Whale in one form or another. The trick is to not keep its attention for too long.


Avast! Dost thee have a five spot thou can see thyself parting ways with?


Jibberjab up the wigwam! Cuisinart the poopdeck!

What's that ye say? Thou canst not make heads nor tails of what I sayeth?

Here then. Let me take this pipe outta my mouth and stop menacing you with this harpoon. Better? Good.

Huh? No, no! Ho-ho! I wasn't asking for money! I was asking if you've
I was that precocious brat who first read the whale-esque sized Moby-Dick at the age of nine. Why? I had my reasons, and they were twofold:
(1) I was in the middle of my "I love Jacques Cousteau!" phase, and this book had a picture of a whale on the cover.
(2) It was on the bookshelf juuuuust above my reach, and so obviously it was good because it was clearly meant to be not for little kids, and that made my little but bloated ego very happy.
So, in retrospect, were War and Peace and Le Père Gori
This was the first CLASSIC I ever read strictly for pleasure...

And I really, really enjoyed it...for the most part (see below).

While recognizing its hallowed place among the canon of world literature, I was still surprised, pleasantly so, at how captivated I became with the novel from the very beginning. Instantly, I loved the character of Ishmael and was amused by his unconventional introduction in the novel. Forced for economic reasons to share a room at in inn with a complete stranger, descr

So... I just finished it a couple of days ago and pretty much everything else pales in comparison.

About three hundred pages in, it was already in my top ten favorite novels of all time, and it didn't disappoint (much)as I continued reading. I actually deliberately drew out getting to the ending so I could savor the last few hundred pages or so. Damn. What a doozy.

What can really be said about this book which hasn't been said before?

A couple of major points that bear mentioning...

* It's dense.
"Aye, aye! And I’ll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition’s flames before I give him up. And this is what ye have shipped for, men! To chase that white whale on both sides of land, and over all sides of earth, till he spouts black blood and rolls fin out." - Captain Ahab

Stripped of its multitude of digressions, Moby-Dick is at heart a fantastic adventure and literary treasure brimming with symbolism and some of the most colorful and me
J.G. Keely
Mar 27, 2010 J.G. Keely rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1819 in Manhattan, a strange trial was commencing. A merchant of that great city had been found in possession of barrels of spermacetti, the fine-quality oil which may be obtained from the head of the Sperm Whale. When an inspector demanded he pay the proper taxes on his goods, the merchant, who apparently made a hobby of science, declared that he had no fish product in his possession, and so the tax did not apply. He was duly arrested and, contending the charges, a trial was begun to determi ...more
Oct 30, 2010 Agnieszka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, reviewed, 2015

Ishmael ,
as now we finally got to know each other I allowed myself to scribble some words to you . At first , I wanted to thank you for your fascinating report from your voyage . I had heard , always from second hand , many accounts about that what happened to you and your companions . Some claimed that it was stupidity and unbelievable bravado to chase after that Moby Dick . Others maintained that it was manful adventure and any landlubber would never be able to understand that . Anyway , I’m g
Ahmad  Ebaid
Nov 15, 2015 Ahmad Ebaid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: أدب, فلسفة
موبي ديك أو الحوت الأبيض, رائعة الكاتب الأمريكي هيرمان ميلفيل


"هل الحوت يفكر؟ هل لديه خطة!!"

يقول السيد ميكافيللي في كتاب الأمير بأن الرجل لا ينتقم إذا ظلمه ذو بأس شديد, ويخبرنا علماء الحيوان الآن بأن القرود والذئاب والحيوانات الأخرى, عندما تدخل في قتال مع أعضاء من نفس النوع تقاتل بكل شراسة, ولكنها عندما تشرف على الهزيمة تخنع وتنحني أمام الفائز الذي يتقبل انسحاب الطرف الآخر. وبهذه الآلية يحافظ النوع الواحد على أفراده. ويبدو أن البشر ورثوا هذه الآلية أو القانون أيضاً.

ولكن هناك بعض البشر يستخدمون س
Barry Pierce
OH MY HOLY MOTHER FUCK. This novel, this FUCKING novel. Phenomenal. Astounding. Groundbreaking. One of the greatest novels ever written. Yeah there's like 200 pages of whale anatomy and the history of whales in literature and whales in art and whale classification and I LOVED EVERY SINGLE WORD OF IT. So it's five-stars. Yes, five-stars. A five-star rating here is as rare as seeing the White Whale itself! READ THIS RIGHT FUCKING NOW. NOW. NOW. NOW.
I have to admit to a long-standing curiosity about Moby-Dick (not least of which is why the albino whale’s name is hyphenated in the title but just plain Moby Dick in the text itself). I read and loved a Reader’s Digest condensed version (gasps of dismay echo across the Metaverse at this news) of this book around second grade and have always wondered what the arbiters of taste at Reader’s Digest decided to leave on the cutting room floor. Could it have been an illicit love scene between Ishmael ...more
Mar 27, 2008 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A public house in Pittsfield, Mass. Two men are at the bar: the bearded man stands, the mustachioed man sits. They take a drink of ale and the bearded man speaks.

Melville: I'm doing it. I've decided.

Hawthorne: Doing what?

Melville: Writing my sodomy book.

Hawthorne: Herman...

Melville: Nathaniel...

Hawthorne: It is unwise.

Melville:'s about sodomites more than sodomy.

Hawthorne: Why would you do this?

Melville: Sodomy exists, Nathaniel, and someone needs to write about it. It might as well
Jan 09, 2013 Forrest rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wanna know a secret? Lean over here and I’ll tell you: This is the first time I’ve read Moby Dick. No lie. 43 years old, never read it. That assignment in high school? Skipped it. Faked the report. Thank you, Cliff Notes. By that, I mean the guy named Cliff in my English class. He owed me a favor. A whale of a favor . . . And college? Bachelor’s degree in Humanities – I had to have read Moby Dick, right? Wrong. Just snippets. Excerpts. Then, feeling the guilt of being an educated American who ha ...more
Nov 23, 2013 Szplug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fuck me with a mincing knife such that I shit banana splits, but is this the most lushly, gorgeously written sea-skein of supernal and scotopic skaldic skill ever set to run before the trade winds for a voyage of six hundred and twenty-five pearlescent pages? Could aught be a more ariose attar of tars in cetological skin, a testimonial to the Old Testament wherein the primal and subcutaneous have pride of place and the canvas of the watery sprawl infinitely spread about the buffeted body shivers ...more
Jan 28, 2016 Ahmed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

في مرّة سألوا هيتشكوك عن الفرق بين المفاجأة والإثارة؟ فرد عليهم قائلًا: إن المفاجأة هي اتنين قاعدين في مكان وتقع عليهم قنبلة، والإثارة هي إن نفس الاتنين قاعدين في نفس المكان وتحتهم قنبلة زمنية وبتعدّ قدامك. الفكرة كلها إن المتعة بتكون موجودة حتى في الحاجات اللي انت متوقعها أو عندك خلفية عنها، يعني أكيد انت عارف إن( موبي ديك )ودا حوت، وبيطارده (آخاب أو إيهاب) واللي الفوا بينهم مصطلح مشهور(إيهاب وحوته)، لكن رغم معرفتك بكل دا إلا إنك بترتبط بالرواية ارتباط غريب على مدار كل صفحة منها.

كموسوعية عمل مث
3.5 stars.

I finally finished this behemoth of a book, in just under a year! I did in fact take around a 10 month or so break, so that is understandable, but I'm so glad I persevered and completed it. Moby Dick, although unfuriating and challenging at the best of times, is well worth the read.

The storyline generally follows a sailor called Ishmael, who along with new found friend and harpooner Queequeg, gets a job aboard the Peyquod, a whaling ship manned by the insane Captain Ahab. The crew thin
"Oh, trebly hooped and welded hip of power! Oh, high aspiring, rainbowed jet!—that one strivest, this one jettest all in vain! In vain, oh whale, dost though seek intercedings with yon all-quickening sun, that only calls forth life, but gives it not again. Yet dost thou, darker half, rock me with a prouder, if a darker faith. All thy unnamable imminglings float beneath me here; I am buoyed by breaths of once living things, exhaled as air, but water now.
A month before this review was written, t
Paul Bryant
There's an old 1950s science fiction story in which aliens have taken over Earth and now wish to learn everything about the human race. But they can't tell what's important and what's trivial, yet. So to be on the safe side, they employ people to read every single book ever published and summarise its main points. And the story is a day in the life of one of these readers. And he's got Moby Dick. And what he writes on the file index card is :

Nineteenth century knowledge about cetaceans, particul
Glenn Sumi
What can I say about this great American novel that hasn’t already been said by generations of readers and academics?

Moby-Dick is as mammoth, mysterious and elusive as the enormous white whale that gives the book its name. The opening line (“Call me Ishmael”) is one of the most famous in all literature. And even people who’ve never read it are familiar with the peg-legged, vengeance-seeking Captain Ahab, the archetype for any maniacally obsessed leader.

What makes the novel so fascinating is how
Sep 29, 2009 Bram rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
This is a curious and unwieldy book. At times (and too frequently) it reads like the more excruciatingly detailed scenes of Robinson Crusoe; at others the zany songs, goofy scenes, and curious characters prove Pynchon and DFW to be no pioneers in their lighthearted pursuits. The descriptive prose occasionally builds into an alliterative tornado where form, content, and raw urgency combined to leave me buzzed and page corner-bending. There’s a staggering amount of wisdom dressed up in whale-speak ...more
Jun 29, 2007 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You know, it feels a little ridiculous to even write a review of _Moby-Dick_, because it's _Moby-Dick_, and what's the point of reviewing it? It's _Moby-Dick_. But for what it's worth:

I think I developed a complicated relationship with this book. On the one hand, I never sat down to read it thinking, "Ooh, boy! Let's read!" It often felt more like a task or quota to fulfill than enjoyment. But, when I did sit down to read it, I usually, at some point, felt a large swell of joy and greatness that
Feb 08, 2012 Fernando rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Mar 24, 2011 William1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 19-ce, us
Arguably the first truly modern American novel, published 1851. One of the essential books of life. My third reading.
Jul 30, 2011 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Call me Ishmael.”
– OK, even those who have not read Melville’s words, know about this iconic beginning. Why Ishmael? Why not.

“Consider the subtleness of the sea; how its most dreaded creatures glide under water, unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of azure. Consider also the devilish brilliance and beauty of many of its most remorseless tribes, as the dainty embellished shape of many species of sharks. Consider, once more, the universal cannibalis
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Herman Melville was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. His first two books gained much attention, though they were not bestsellers, and his popularity declined precipitously only a few years later. By the time of his death he had been almost completely forgotten, but his longest novel, Moby-Dick — largely considered a failure during his lifetime, and most responsible for ...more
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