The book is the sailor Ishmael's narrative of the obsessive quest of Ahab, captain of the whaling ship Pequod, for revenge on Moby Dick, the giant white sperm whale that on the ship's previous voyage bit off Ahab's leg at the knee. A contribution to the literature of the American Renaissance, Moby Dick was published to mixed reviews, was a commercial failure, and was out of print at the time of the author's death in 1891. Its reputation as a "Great American Novel" was established only in the 20th century, after the centennial of its author's birth.
This Norton Critical Edition includes:
- Melville’s classic novel of whaling and revenge, based on Hershel Parker’s revision of the 1967 text edited by Harrison Hayford and Hershel Parker.
- Twenty-six illustrations, including maps, contemporary engravings, and diagrams of whaleboat rigging.
- Background and source materials centering on whaling and whalecraft, Melville’s international reception, the inspirations for Moby-Dick, and Melville’s related correspondence.
- Forty-four reviews and interpretations of the novel spanning three centuries.
- A revised and updated Selected Bibliography.
This book is paperback.
“One of the great strengths of this third edition is Hershel Parker’s inclusion of commentary on Moby-Dick from its publication in 1851 right into the 21st century to answer why Moby-Dick—boisterous, beautiful, filled with soaring language, forever questioning, and nearly 200 years old—is more popular than ever.” —Mary K. Bercaw Edwards, University of Connecticut