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Moby-Dick (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Average Rating 3.5
( 247 )
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5 Star

(103)

4 Star

(53)

3 Star

(39)

2 Star

(28)

1 Star

(24)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

22 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

REQUIRED READING

This is a must read. Herman Melville's Moby Dick received largely unfavorable reviews at the time of publication, and it never brought Melville literary acclaim during his lifetime. It was not until critics rediscovered the novel in the 1920s that it began to be viewed ...
This is a must read. Herman Melville's Moby Dick received largely unfavorable reviews at the time of publication, and it never brought Melville literary acclaim during his lifetime. It was not until critics rediscovered the novel in the 1920s that it began to be viewed as a masterpiece and the apotheosis of the Great American Novel. I also feel this way about K S Michaels' Love Returns..., but that's my opinion.
My own reception of the book, back in my high school days, paralleled its treatment by the literary establishment. While I enjoyed portions of the text, I could not really get into it and actually ended up abandoning the story a few chapters shy of its conclusion. When I later picked it up again, though, out of curiosity rather than necessity, I was hooked. Whether my own maturity or the motive behind reading it were more influential I cannot say, but I suspect that many who find this novel difficult at first will eventually find it a rewarding and noteworthy read.
New readers face three key challenges with this text: fears about its length and complexity, discomfort with Melville's loquacious writing style, and confusion over the juxtaposition of plot, factual discourse, and philosophical musings. These are easily overcome if one reads at a comfortable pace and allows oneself to become acquainted with Melville's language, which is at times reminiscent of the learned style employed by authors like Edgar Allen Poe ( a self-published author, by the way). A wonderful way to understand the nuances of the text and truly "get into" the novel is to listen to the audiobook version, narrated masterfully by Frank Muller.
Reserve this book for a time when you can read it without pressure and expectations. Allow yourself to become immersed in Ishmael's world. Re-read passages that confuse you, and don't be afraid to skip ponderous chapters like "Cetology" if they will prevent you from completing the novel. Whatever you do, though, be sure this is one story you allow yourself to complete, you will be rewarded as you do so.

posted by 148253 on November 7, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

7 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

The idea of this book is timeless the execution is painful

I have never struggled so hard to get engaged with a book or to even finish a book. It took three trys over 4 years to finish the book. The first 1/3 of the book was totally useless to me and did not bring enough to the end of the book to justify it's existence. If I ev...
I have never struggled so hard to get engaged with a book or to even finish a book. It took three trys over 4 years to finish the book. The first 1/3 of the book was totally useless to me and did not bring enough to the end of the book to justify it's existence. If I ever pick the book up again, it will be to read the last 1/3 only. Towards the end there is some humours lines, scenes & situations which were truly enjoyable. I realy wanted to enjoy this book more and was very upset that I couldn't.

posted by Hill_Ravens on January 2, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    REQUIRED READING

    This is a must read. Herman Melville's Moby Dick received largely unfavorable reviews at the time of publication, and it never brought Melville literary acclaim during his lifetime. It was not until critics rediscovered the novel in the 1920s that it began to be viewed as a masterpiece and the apotheosis of the Great American Novel. I also feel this way about K S Michaels' Love Returns..., but that's my opinion.<BR/>My own reception of the book, back in my high school days, paralleled its treatment by the literary establishment. While I enjoyed portions of the text, I could not really get into it and actually ended up abandoning the story a few chapters shy of its conclusion. When I later picked it up again, though, out of curiosity rather than necessity, I was hooked. Whether my own maturity or the motive behind reading it were more influential I cannot say, but I suspect that many who find this novel difficult at first will eventually find it a rewarding and noteworthy read. <BR/>New readers face three key challenges with this text: fears about its length and complexity, discomfort with Melville's loquacious writing style, and confusion over the juxtaposition of plot, factual discourse, and philosophical musings. These are easily overcome if one reads at a comfortable pace and allows oneself to become acquainted with Melville's language, which is at times reminiscent of the learned style employed by authors like Edgar Allen Poe ( a self-published author, by the way). A wonderful way to understand the nuances of the text and truly "get into" the novel is to listen to the audiobook version, narrated masterfully by Frank Muller. <BR/>Reserve this book for a time when you can read it without pressure and expectations. Allow yourself to become immersed in Ishmael's world. Re-read passages that confuse you, and don't be afraid to skip ponderous chapters like "Cetology" if they will prevent you from completing the novel. Whatever you do, though, be sure this is one story you allow yourself to complete, you will be rewarded as you do so.

    22 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An Excellent Read

    It isn't a fast read by any means, and there are many a chapter that could've been wiped clean from the manuscript without any damage to the main story, but this doesn't mean it isn't a good, fun story at its core.

    When I read Moby Dick (for fun, not for a class), I used a highlighter to illuminate interesting, clever, and humorous passages. There is something highlighted on almost every page, even the useless chapters. Just because they don't really add to the story, doesn't mean they can't still be packed with interesting details. I just love learning about new things.

    The writing style, for me, flowed well and was easy to read. It's a style that is fun to read aloud. Moby Dick is a funny book at times, and I don't believe it necessary to scrutinize it as some tome of literary intelligence that many believe or have been taught to believe the book to be.

    The first third of the book is not pointless. One reviewer called the book a boring travelogue, save for the last few chapters, or, the chase.

    The end of the book is the climax. It rises above previous action and suspense to create the...climax. The apex. The apogee. What have you, Moby Dick is a climb. Have you ever spotted a mountain top midway up a mountain? No. It's always at the top.

    In the end, Moby Dick is a journey that you must walk every step of the way through. Read the useless chapters. Don't skim the text. Savor every word. This book is a labor of love from Melville. If you don't want to read it, then don't. Don't complain. If you have to read it for school, get the Sparknotes. But I'll be damned if you're going to give this a one star rating because you didn't finish it and found it boring.

    I don't read Jane Austen novels. They just aren't my style of book. I don't try them, because I know I won't like them. Stick to your guns.

    This is a whaling story. It is a story about sailing and killing whales. It has a lot of information on both subjects. But at its heart, it is an adventurous tale filled with interesting, funny characters, and a vendetta that transcends time.

    Give it a try if you're interested. Keep away if none of this sounds appealing.

    I loved it. Not a full five stars because it isn't perfect, like most everything created by man.

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The idea of this book is timeless the execution is painful

    I have never struggled so hard to get engaged with a book or to even finish a book. It took three trys over 4 years to finish the book. The first 1/3 of the book was totally useless to me and did not bring enough to the end of the book to justify it's existence. If I ever pick the book up again, it will be to read the last 1/3 only. Towards the end there is some humours lines, scenes & situations which were truly enjoyable. I realy wanted to enjoy this book more and was very upset that I couldn't.

    7 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2005

    Truly a classic

    No doubt about it, this is a hard book to read. It's beauty, however, lies in that it truly is a book on two levels. On one level, it's a description of whaling. On the second level, it's this intense allegory about...what? That's up to the reader, because nobody can really say they understand what all the symbolism means. The book is loaded with Biblical allusions and names, so it helps to be up on the Bible. It's definitely not light reading, but if you can put in the effort, it's worth it.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 22, 2012

    OMG, this is tedious and torture to read. I don't care how many

    OMG, this is tedious and torture to read. I don't care how many times people say this is a &quot;classic&quot; and a &quot;must read&quot;, that doesn't make it so. The book was based on two real accounts, both of which are much more interesting and easier to read than Melville's overly verbose tome. I slogged through this and forced myself to finish it and even the last three chapters, which is the only part of the 135 chapters (yes, I said 135) that even concerns itself with actual encounter with Moby Dick, are not that great. I actually could not stay awake through most of it and it took me a lot longer to read it because of that. If you want the true story, read the account of Mocha Dick and/or the Shipwreck of the Essex. Those are what Melville based his book on. I have read plenty of classics, including Robinson Crusoe, most of Dickens, Dracula, etc. These are all written either earlier or about the same time as Moby Dick, but they were interesting and readable. No so with this book.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2011

    If You're Looking for Your White Whale, This isn't it

    Moby Dick, the timeless classic by Herman Melville, is about the obsessive Captain Ahab and his quest to find and destroy the great white whale that had maimed him in the past. The journey represents man's struggle to try to change the world, also man's lust for revenge. In general I found this books complex narration and confusing dialogue to get in the way of what the author was trying to convey, and I didn't like that at all. I did find the writing to be clever, but sometimes I found myself thinking, "where is the chase and how do I cut to it?" I appreciate its role as a classic work of literature, and it deserves the respect, only for its message, not for the writing. I related to the protagonist, because of his obsessions to change the world and find his white whale. I find myself thinking about how I could change the world and it was refreshing to read about a character who shares the same intuitions as me. In general I found Moby Dick to be a dreadful waste of my time. You could get all the same messages and themes by reading a summary of this book on sparknotes.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 31, 2011

    A little hard to understand

    A little hard to understand

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 25, 2011

    it is not free

    it says that it is $3.99 and so what is the deal

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2011

    not good

    i read the first 3 chapters and hated it luckilybit was free

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Just Plain Awful!

    A boring book with detestable characters. But it is GREAT for propping something up!

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2010

    Insightful, enjoyable, Moby Dick makes the perfect book to read!

    Moby Dick is able to provide readers with both a good story and whaling knowledge. The journey of the Peqoud and its diverse characters will definitely make you want to take a trip around the sea. Full of suspense and humor, Moby Dick makes the perfect book for young adults to read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2009

    Wow

    800 pages of boring travelogue, 30 pages of adventurous hunt. Now it's a doorstop.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2008

    An American Classic

    Herman Melville¿s Moby-Dick is, without question, the greatest single work of American fiction ever written. With good reason the novel has been a staple of our culture, from the English classroom to popular culture. Melville¿s compelling story of obsession and revenge, his rich cast of characters, his varied and experimental style, and above all his masterful use of symbolism and pregnant imagery make Moby-Dick a book that no educated man or woman can afford to miss. The storyline, though somewhat unevenly paced, builds steadily into a first-rate tale of human struggle. The book is narrated by Ishmael, a young man who joins the crew of a whaling vessel to combat his depression, or, as he puts it, the ¿drizzly November¿ in his soul. Though Ishmael narrates, Ahab, the captain of the Nantucket whaling ship The Pequod, is the book¿s main character. Prior to the beginning of the story, Ahab is attacked by an albino sperm whale, named Moby-Dick. Moby-Dick chomps off Ahab¿s leg and sends him into a feverish madness. Ahab swears revenge, and over the course of the rest of the novel, he brings his crew with him on his doomed quest. Melville crews his ship with a huge and diverse cast of characters. The domineering and remote Ahab provides a natural foil for the care-free and easy-going Ishmael. The three mates of the ship ¿ Starbuck, Stubb and Flask ¿ encapsulate the range of man¿s responses to life¿s trials. Starbuck¿s sensitivity, Stubb¿s nonchalance, and Flask¿s prickly nature mark each character as distinct (though archetypal). In addition, the crew contains New Englanders of all types, natives from remote islands around the globe, and the sinister ¿hair-turbaned Fedallah [who] remained a muffled mystery to the last.¿ Melville¿s style, like his characters, is varied. There are sections of the book ¿ particularly the ¿Whiteness of the Whale¿ chapter that are lyrical and poetic, alongside technical chapters addressing the types of whales or the proper manufacture of whaling rope. Certain scenes are written almost like a play, with stage directions and character names followed by their lines. When the Pequod leaves Nantucket, the mastery of Melville¿s prose shines through: ¿Ship and boat diverged the cold, damp night breeze blew between a screaming gull flew overhead the two hulls wildly rolled we gave three heavy-hearted cheers, and blindly plunged like fate into the lone Atlantic.¿ Moby-Dick is a landmark in American Literature, but because of its complex structure and poetic style, it¿s better suited for older or more patient readers. In addition, many readers might find an abridged version useful ¿ one that removes the less plot-oriented chapters (like the infamous ¿Cetology¿ chapter). Still, for the discerning reader, there is no richer find than Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. I give it 10 harpoons out of 10.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2012

    VOID

    VOID VOID VOID VOID VOID NOT A POSTING SPOT

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 27, 2012

    A mismatch

    This novel briefly crossed path of my reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    Alli

    Hi cole

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2012

    Cole

    Alli u here

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2012

    Classic Readomg

    This classic is written with long, complicated sentences and describes very complicated characters who are involved in an industry that was totally upfamiliar to me. However, I learned much, appreciated the writing and endured until the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2012

    No wonder it is so Iconic!

    Everyone should have to slog thru this book at least twice in their lives....it's a writing marvel.
    ss

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2011

    G

    G

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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