This unique version includes bonus annotations including:
- Detailed biography of Herman Melville
- Literary Critique
- Historical Context
Moby-Dick is a novel first published in 1851 by American author Herman Melville. Originally misunderstood by its contemporary audiences and critics, Moby-Dick is now often referred to as The Great American Novel and is considered one of the treasures of world literature. The story tells the adventures of the wandering sailor Ishmael and his voyage on the whaleship Pequod, commanded by Captain Ahab. Ishmael soon learns that Ahab seeks one specific whale, Moby Dick, a white sperm whale of tremendous size and ferocity. Comparatively few whaleships know of Moby Dick, and fewer yet have encountered him. In a previous encounter, the whale destroyed Ahab's boat and bit off his leg. Ahab intends to take revenge.
In Moby-Dick, Melville employs stylized language, symbolism, and metaphor to explore numerous complex themes. Through the main character's journey, the concepts of class and social status, good and evil, and the existence of gods are all examined as Ishmael speculates upon his personal beliefs and his place in the universe. The narrator's reflections, along with his descriptions of a sailor's life aboard a whaling ship, are woven into the narrative along with Shakespearean literary devices such as stage directions, extended soliloquies and asides.
Often considered the embodiment of American Romanticism, Moby-Dick was first published by Richard Bentley in London on October 18, 1851 in an expurgated three-volume edition titled The Whale, and weeks later as a single volume, by New York City publisher Harper and Brothers as Moby-Dick; or, The Whale on November 14, 1851. The first line of Chapter One—"Call me Ishmael."—is one of the most famous opening lines in American literature. Although the book initially received mixed reviews, Moby-Dick is now considered one of the greatest novels in the English language and has secured Melville's place among America's greatest writers.
The story is based on the actual events around the whaleship Essex, which was attacked by a sperm whale while at sea and sank.