'The frail gunwales bent in, collapsed, and snapped, as both jaws, like an enormous shears, sliding further aft, bit the craft completely in twain...'
The crew of the whaling ship the Pequod is bound by its Captain Ahab to a single, bloody goal: the killing of the whale Moby-Dick, the giant albino that has taken his leg and on which he has sworn vengeance. Driven, perhaps doomed, by his dangerous monomania, they sail in pursuit of the monster.
Moby-Dick is the greatest novel of the sea ever written and one of the most expansive feats of imagination in fiction. Melville unforgettably crews the Pequod, and at the book's mad, raging heart, Ahab's quest for the white whale is one of the most powerful symbols in literature.
About the Author
Herman Melville (1819-91) became in his late twenties a highly successful author of exotic novels based on his experiences as a sailor - writing in quick succession Typee, Omoo, Redburn and White-Jacket. However, his masterpiece Moby-Dick was met with incomprehension and the other later works which are now the basis of his reputation, such as Bartleby, the Scrivener and The Confidence-Man, were failures. Melville stopped writing fiction and the rest of his long life was spent first as a lecturer and then, for nineteen years, as a customs official in New York City. He was also the author of the immensely long poem Clarel, which was similarly dismissed. At the end of his life he wrote Billy Budd, Sailor, published posthumously in 1924. The Confidence-Man and Billy Budd, Sailor are published together in the Penguin English Library.
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