Dear Library Patrons, NYPL is an essential provider for free books, classes, and services in the world’s most vibrant and diverse city. Now more than ever we need dedicated individuals like you to help us keep the Library’s vital services free for all New Yorkers. Help us get 1,500 Friends of the Library members by March 1.


Moby-Dick, Or, The Whale

Melville, Herman, 1819-1891

(Paperback - 1998)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Moby-Dick, Or, The Whale
Penguin Putnam

One of the most widely-read and respected books in all American literature, Moby Dick is the saga of Captain Ahab and his unrelenting pursuit of Moby Dick, the great white whale who maimed him during their last encounter. A novel blending high-seas romantic adventure, symbolic allegory, and the conflicting ideals of heroic determination and undying hatred, Moby Dick is also revered for its historical accounts of the whaling industry of the 1800s.

@greatwhitetale Call me Ishmael. You could call me something else if you want, but since that’s my name, it would make sense to call me Ishmael.

Captain obsessed with finding a whale called Moby Dick. Sounds like the meanest VD ever, if you ask me. Sorry. Old joke. Couldn’t resist.

From Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less

Baker & Taylor
A nineteenth-century tale of life aboard a New England whaling ship whose captain is obsessed with the pursuit of a large white whale

& Taylor

The fanatical and ruthless Captain Ahab, seeking revenge on the great white whale that had crippled him, sends his crew on dangerous quest to find and kill Moby-Dick, in the nineteenth-century novel about life aboard a whaling ship. Reissue.

Publisher: New York : Signet Classic, 1998
ISBN: 0451526996
Branch Call Number: CLASSICS FIC M
Characteristics: xxxv, 555 p. cm.
Alternate Title: Moby Dick
White whale


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Quote

Feb 12, 2014
  • SAPPHIREBEAR15 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.


Jan 02, 2014
  • EricaReynolds rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The more so, I say, because truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself.

Jan 02, 2014
  • EricaReynolds rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.

Jan 02, 2014
  • EricaReynolds rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever."

Jan 02, 2014
  • EricaReynolds rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can."

Jun 28, 2012
  • SAPPHIREBEAR15 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.


Jun 28, 2012
  • SAPPHIREBEAR15 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.


Jun 28, 2012
  • SAPPHIREBEAR15 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.


Jun 28, 2012
  • SAPPHIREBEAR15 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.


View All Quotes


Add a Comment

Feb 07, 2014
  • LibbyJean1 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

American classic that's enjoyable to read.

Dec 06, 2013
  • EricaReynolds rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

It’s not just a pop culture icon, but an amazing, ambitious book that is beautiful and amusing and complex and a little crazy and that gives and gives and is worth reading daily. It is not hyperbole to say that this book changed and continues to inspire my life, and I come return to it regularly. I recommend reading it as a group the first few times or enjoying the audiobook first. “Nothing exists in itself.”

Jun 19, 2013
  • GerryD rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Considered one of the Top 10 classic novels (my #2) of the western world. As pointed out by some reviewers, it is slow going at times but then that is part of the greatness of classic novels. See my GerryD Lists for other great novels.

Dec 28, 2012
  • captaincanuck rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

It was a very enthralling book...once one got past the enormous amount of pages written just on the various information that had been gathered on Leviathans. If those had never been written, this book may have been in my category of "best books read." I recommend this book as a good read, it just requires a bit of patience at times and commitment. If you're not willing to do either, well, then, forget it.

Dec 17, 2012
  • BeccaBB rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A lot of people are familiar with this story but fewer people have ever read it. Until now I was one of those people. And I could see why people would be put off by this book. It’s a good story, even a great story. But it is long. And Ismael, our narrator, is verbose to say the least. You have to be patient with him. You are a hundred pages into the book before you even get on the ship. It is a long time after that before you see any whales and a lot longer after that that you get to see Moby Dick himself. It’s not that nothing happens in the meantime. You get to know the crew and Ahab and you get to see the effect that the captain’s obsession with the famous whale has on him and his crew. Which is all good stuff. But Ismael goes on and on about everything. He gives you a catalog of all the whales he has seen represented in art and tells you how close they are to the real thing; he gives you a catalog of all the known whales; he discourses on the greatness of man. And there is a lot of sailing going on. I’ve never read anything else by Melville so I don’t know if it is author or the narrator that tends to be so wordy and tangential but for me there were long passages where I was at a loss as to what they added to the story and, quite frankly, I could have done without. Even with all of those things I really liked it but I’m glad I was reading another book at the same time or it might have become monotonous.

Jul 30, 2012
  • andiandi rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is great! I loved ishmael having to sleep with a canibal-their relationship is so funny and yet so American. Maybe the ultimate American novel. Also am very caught up in the industry of whaling. out side of it being taboo in my lifetime, it was a huge part of our economy in the 1800's- and our energy before electricity and petroleum- a history we could learn something from.

Jul 30, 2012
  • bdemian rated this: 1.5 stars out of 5.

One of the more boring classics.

Halfway through and loving it!

Jun 28, 2012
  • SAPPHIREBEAR15 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

good to read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

View All Comments


Add a Summary

Nov 07, 2014
  • yonit9 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Ishmael goes whaling with a friend but the Captain, Ahab, wants revenge on the whale Moby Dick for eating his leg. They kill lots of whales, meet many crazy people who are prophetic, meet other ships, go through tragedies, sail around, and end up all dying against Moby Dick except for Ishmael.

Feb 12, 2014
  • SAPPHIREBEAR15 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

History of Moby Dick


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.

Find it at NYPL


Buy It Now

Support your library, keep it forever!

View Purchase Options Learn more about this program

Your Cart

Hello! We noticed you have the following items in your cart right now:

If you'd still like to purchase the items you have in your cart, you can do that now.

You'll be able to purchase your eBook after you have checked out your current cart.

Moby-Dick, Or, The Whale
Melville, Herman, 1819-1891
Moby-Dick, Or, The Whale

To continue with your eBook purchase immediately, you can clear your cart by clicking below.

All items will be removed from your cart.

I'd like to keep browsing! I'll decide later.

Explore Further

Browse the Shelf

Subject Headings



Powered by BiblioCommons.
app09 Version musli Last updated 2015/02/24 14:10