"Moby-Dick" is one of the great epics of all literature. Captain Ahab's hunt for the white whale drives the narrative at a relentless pace, while Ishmael's mediations on whales and whaling, on the sublime indifference of nature, and on the grimy details of the extraction of oil provide a reflective counterpoint to the headlong idolatrous quest. Sometimes read as a terrifying study of monomania or a critical inquiry into the sinister effects of reducing life to symbols, "Moby-Dick" also offers colorful and often comic glimpses of sea-faring life.
For almost thirty years, The Library of America has presented America's best and most significant writing in acclaimed hardcover editions. Now, a new series, Library of America Paperback Classics, offers attractive and affordable books that bring The Library of America's authoritative texts within easy reach of every reader. Each book features an introductory essay by one of a leading writer, as well as a detailed chronology of the author's life and career, an essay on the choice and history of the text, and notes.
The contents of this Paperback Classic are drawn from "Herman Melville: Redburn, White-Jacket, Moby-Dick," volume number 9 in the Library of America series. It is joined in the series by two companion volumes, and together they present Melville's complete fiction.