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3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  324,964 ratings  ·  8,131 reviews
A masterpiece of storytelling, this epic saga pits Ahab, a brooding and fantastical sea captain, against the great white whale that crippled him. In telling the tale of Ahab's passion for revenge and the fateful voyage that ensued, Melville produced far more than the narrative of a hair-raising journey; Moby-Dick is a tale for the ages that sounds the deepest depths of the ...more
Paperback, 452 pages
Published August 29th 2003 by Dover Publications (first published 1851)
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Gülayzer It tooks me 20 days to finish because of daily life. I agree that there is lots of details about whales and also sailing. But still I found…moreIt tooks me 20 days to finish because of daily life. I agree that there is lots of details about whales and also sailing. But still I found engrossingç(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
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
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
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
Steve Sckenda
Dec 11, 2014 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 now, 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 mas

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.
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
May 04, 2010 Scroutch rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who read
Recommended to Scroutch by: God, Shakespeare, and Milton
Shelves: best-books-ever
Moby Dick is in one of my Top 10 books of all time. Maybe that doesn't mean a lot to you who do not know of my impeccable taste, but that is neither here nor there. Anyone who isn't a total asshole would recognize that Melville is a bad-ass and that Moby Dick is a masterpiece.

First of all, let me just say that I love the word "monomaniacal." Second of all, allow me to confess that I would totally make out with Captain Ahab. Whale bone peg legs are fucking hot, and so is being all charmingly Sat
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis

ego non baptizo te in nomine patris, sed in nomine diaboli!

Its Introduction

Moby-Dick is the memoir of Ishmael; “Call me Ishmael.” He serves as our narrator and stage director, our narrative captain. Moby-Dick is the recollection of his first voyage a-whaling, having shipped out with the Pequod under the command of our famous Captain Ahab rather than succumb on land to severe depression. He is much older today as he recounts his adventures; he has shipped with other whalemen and spent an untold
"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
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
Stephen M
call me ishmael; call me whatever

A Pseudo-Sonnet for the Dick

avast! ye sailors; avast!
our tale has already begun
captain ahab and his sterling crew
sailing beneath the mighty sun

cry out white whale when ye must;
cry leviathan for his oil!
aye! crack the ship; mount the ropes
forty days and nights will spoil!

but listen to me; and do not forget
who it is who tells your tale
it is ishmael! ishmael!
he’s the one who knows it well

so, hold ye murderous chalices, high into the air!
harpoon thyself in the wake
J Frederick
This book is outrageous in every way and if engaged will find some way to endear itself to the most stubborn of readers. To this reader, the book embodied everything I believe a novel can and should do, and makes it easy to give a straightforward answer to the question, "What is your favorite novel?" If this was represented to you as a rather dry 'American classic' or as exceedingly difficult or excessively meandering, I hope you find like I did that none of these things are true. This is an exp ...more
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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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