About Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (www.mobydickthewhale.com)
If your like me, you did everything you could to avoid reading Moby-Dick in high school. I even managed to make it through college without reading Moby-Dick, although, secretly, it was always on my to do list. I've been an avid reader since my middle-school years, but there was always something daunting about the thought of picking up Moby-Dick. Then, in 1993, after reading Jeff Smith's Bone, I felt the time had come to give it a shot. I made it about half way, then switched to books on tape to finish it. I had an hour commute at the time, and it helped fill that mindless void that is the beltway.
I got a chance to go on a whale watching cruise off Cape Cod during the time I was reading Moby-Dick for the first time. That's all it took to ignite my imagination and really get me into the book even more. There's something about seeing a giant whale breach the surface, in its sheer grace and magnitude, that inspires the human spirit. It's been my favorite book ever since. There were plenty of: "What the heck is he talking about" type moments throughout, but "From Hell's heart I stab at thee!" made up for all of that.
Now that I'm middle-aged, I've returned to Moby-Dick many times over the years. Always excited to find, that, with a few more white hairs in my beard, I understand a little more of the novel each time. Maybe it's an allusion to a mythological hero or a historical figure I learned about since my last visit that I had totally forgot was mentioned in Moby-Dick. Maybe it's a new vocabulary word I managed to pick up, or a new location on the map. That's what I think makes Moby-Dick so special. That no person can sit down and read it for the first time, and know exactly what Melville is always making reference to. It takes many trips back to this book before you begin to appreciate the grand scale and scope of Melville's brilliance.
It's been a dream of mine to have a website dedicated to this Great American Novel and to provide materials to help guide other first time readers through it. I am by no means the font of all knowledge when it comes to Moby-Dick, but as I find things out in my personal revisits to the novel, I'll share some of them via this web site.
All versions of the Moby-Dick text copyrighted prior to 1923 are in the public domain. You're free to use the original text however you see fit. Anything over and above the original text from Moby-Dick is Copyright 2008 mobydickthewhale.com. This includes, but it not limited to my commentaries, essays, essay question and vocabulary lists. Feel free to use such things for personal or classroom use, but all rights are reserved. Please read the Copyright Notice for more detail.
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Thanks for stopping by, and please tell a friend about mobydickthewhale.com.
W. L. Pinder