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About the book
  • Published: 13 January 2010
  • ISBN: 9780143105954
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 672
  • RRP: $32.99

Moby-Dick




Captain Ahab is an eerily compelling madman who focuses his distilled hatred and suffering (and that of generations before him) into the pursuit of a creature as vast, dangerous and unknowable as the sea itself.

In part, Moby-Dick is the story of an eerily compelling madman pursuing an unholy war against a creature as vast and dangerous and unknowable as the sea itself. But more than just a novel of adventure, more than an encyclopaedia of whaling lore and legend, the book can be seen as part of its author's lifelong meditation on America. Written with wonderfully redemptive humour, Moby-Dick is also a profound enquiry into character, faith and the nature of perception.

  • Pub date: 13 January 2010
  • ISBN: 9780143105954
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 672
  • RRP: $32.99

About the Author

Herman Melville

Herman Melville was born on August 1, 1819, in New York City, the son of a merchant. Only twelve when his father died bankrupt, young Herman tried work as a bank clerk, as a cabin-boy on a trip to Liverpool, and as an elementary schoolteacher, before shipping in January 1841 on the whaler Acushnet, bound for the Pacific. Deserting ship the following year in the Marquesas, he made his way to Tahiti and Honolulu, returning as ordinary seaman on the frigate United States to Boston, where he was discharged in October 1844. Books based on these adventures won him immediate success. By 1850 he was married, had acquired a farm near Pittsfield, Massachussetts (where he was the impetuous friend and neighbor of Nathaniel Hawthorne), and was hard at work on his masterpiece Moby-Dick.

Literary success soon faded; his complexity increasingly alienated readers. After a visit to the Holy Land in January 1857, he turned from writing prose fiction to poetry. In 1863, during the Civil War, he moved back to New York City, where from 1866-1885 he was a deputy inspector in the Custom House, and where, in 1891, he died. A draft of a final prose work, Billy Budd, Sailor, was left unfinished and uncollated, packed tidily away by his widow, where it remained until its rediscovery and publication in 1924.

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