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Moby Dick

3.43 of 5 stars 3.43  ·  rating details  ·  345,047 ratings  ·  8,820 reviews
“Call me Ishmael.”

Thus begins one of the most famous journeys in literature—the voyage of the whaling ship Pequod and its embattled, monomaniacal Captain Ahab. Ishmael quickly learns that the Pequod’s captain sails for revenge against the elusive Moby Dick, a sperm whale with a snow-white hump and mottled skin that destroyed Ahab’s former vessel and left him crippled. As t
Audio CD, Abridged, 6 pages
Published June 16th 2005 by Penguin Audio (first published October 18th 1851)
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Alison Beard It took me a month to finish, and I credit that speed to paying $0.99 to Audible -- made it easier to read along with the free Kindle version and stay…moreIt took me a month to finish, and I credit that speed to paying $0.99 to Audible -- made it easier to read along with the free Kindle version and stay committed. It was narrated by Frank Muller, who has a great voice, and therefore, was a good companion for my most epic reading voyage, to date. Had to pause several times to look up a word, but that is the case for most books. The whale and vessel and whaling trade detail were far easier to read when I saw them as the metaphor for life that each represents, in my interpretation. Melville was a genius! (less)
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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“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
Dec 04, 2013 Matt rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People I despise
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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

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
Steve Sckenda
Sep 19, 2015 Steve Sckenda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those Interested in Metaphors and Mysteries
Recommended to Steve by: Mr. Biggers
No more of this blubbering. We are going a-whaling. Those who do not rejoice in ambiguity, metaphor, and metaphysical musings should probably stay safely ashore. Melville gusts in glorious Biblical-Shakespearean words, which I will use as much as possible in my review.

Bring your courage.
In this business of whaling, courage was one of the great staple outfits of the ship. Ample courage is necessary to confront the deception of appearance. All visible objects, man, are but pasteboard masks. (178)
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.

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
J.G. Keely
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
Bookworm 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. 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 this book’s place in the lite ...more
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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.
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
Emilian Kasemi
Third reading.

Everyone knows that Poe and Melville are the greatest pre-nineteenth-century American writers, each with their best works Gordon Pym and Moby-Dick.
But not everyone knows that these novels (a strange case of destiny) were generated by the same reason.
An explorer called Jeremiah Reynolds started in 1829 scientific expeditions to prove the theory that the earth is hollow and that it could be penetrated from the south pole. He came back empty-handed, while impersonating unlikely storie

This novel was on the syllabus of the 19th century literature course I studied when I was a second year university student, back in 1977. About half way through, I got bored. Then I fell ill and I didn’t finish reading it. Notwithstanding the fact that I hadn’t read the entire novel, I managed to write a paper about it and pass the exam thanks to very detailed lecture notes borrowed from a friend. After that, Moby Dick receded into my past and I had no intention of revisiting it.

Years later, my

I know that I had heard of Moby Dick earlier than this, but my first remembered cultural encounter with the novel was in the movie Heathers.


Life sucks.

Rubbing noses with Jesus.


I'd like to be the kind of person who could say that a great piece of literature, say a Great American Novel like Moby Dick, was the most important part of my formative years. That it was the sort of cultural thing that moved me. That someone like Herman Melville opened my eyes to something I'd previously be
Vane J.

Moby Dick is a perfect example of a title gone wrong. If I had been Herman Melville, I would have titled it "The Adventures and Misadventures of Ishmael the Sailor In a Ship Whose Captain Seeks Revenge Upon a Whale Known As Moby Dick". My title seems tedious, huh? Well... it is, but I assure you it's much fun to read that than this slog of a book.

You may be asking yourselves... Why the title I chose? My answer is: This book is about everything but a whale. Sure, they start to pursuit the giant
This is a huge barrel of whaling lore, brimful and stoppered with every possible scrap of information about 19th century whaling ships, about the men who sailed them, the tools they used and the skills needed for the nearly impossible task of hunting the great sperm whale for his precious oil. But underneath all that blubber beats the comparatively small but throbbing heart of a great adventure story, peopled with entertaining characters straight out of Shakespeare and pervaded with biblical for ...more
"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."
Oops! wrong book! I'm going to leave it there just to be contrary, besides "Call me Ishmael." just doesn't really do it for me, sorry Mr. Melville, you should have named him Slartibartfast.

Moby - "don't forget the hyphen!" - Dick is a notoriously "difficult" read, normally I am too lazy to make the effort but something about this book intrigued me. Why is an old book about a whale a classic literature? Is this a thrilling high seas adventure, the
"Novelist" is too small a term for Melville--he's some kind of shaggy Norse bard, writing rhapsodic yet precise, musuclar yet dulcet Elizabethan-tinged English at the midcentury high noon of "realism." For the time and place, the book and the man are uniquely American products, such as only America's social fluidity, untamed confusion of forms and sheer what-the-fuck randomness could produce: a sketchily educated scion of a declined old family goes to sea as a common sailor, comes back, immerses ...more
November 2012

Thar She Neighs
Call me Jacob. Some years ago--fifteen, to be precise; it was 1997 and I was ten--having just seen The Empire Strikes Back for the very first time, and still starry-eyed over Star Wars, I nearly lost my index finger to a horse. It is a way I have of dri--er, sorry, I mean, there I was, head in a galaxy far far away and trying to feed the horse a carrot at the same time, when it decided to go for blood instead.


I panicked and it backed off without doing much dam
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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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