Danny's Reviews > Moby Dick: Or The Whale

Moby Dick by Herman Melville
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Jul 27, 11

Read in July, 2011

It takes a lot of work to get through Moby Dick. The writing is antiquated, full of biblical metaphors and other references that were completely over my head, and there are long passages dedicated to the anatomy of whales and the structure of whaling boats. What I loved about Moby Dick was getting to the end of one of these tedious passages and reading the most beautiful analogies and metaphors drawn from one of these technical details. Melville's reflections on life are written in the most eloquent and beautiful prose, and they catch you off guard, mixed as they are into sometimes dense details on cetology, for example. They are passages that you want to write down and keep coming back to and share with people because they are just that good.

In fact this stylistic variation is one of the things I most enjoyed about the novel. Some chapters are written like soliloquies, others like chapters out of a biology textbook, others like plays. It is a difficult book but far from monotonous, and the sheer unexpectedness of certain chapters kept me going.

I didn't do total justice to Moby Dick, by which I mean I didn't take the time to research the biblical metaphors and other references -- mainly because it would have taken me ages to get to the end. The next time around I want to take my time with this book, which really does deserve its place among the greatest in American literature.
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