Captain Ahab is an eerily compelling madman who focuses his distilled hatred and suffering (and that of generations before him) into the pursuit of a creature as vast, dangerous and unknowable as the sea itself. More than just a novel of adventure, this is a haunting social commentary populated with some of the most enduring characters in literature. Written with wonderfully redemptive humour, Moby Dick is a profound and timeless inquiry into character, faith and the nature of perception.
Herman Melville, though not appreciated in his own time, is now regarded as one of America's greatest novelists. Much of the material for his novels was drawn from his own experience as a seaman. He wrote his masterpiece Moby Dick in 1851and died in1891. Andrew Delbanco is Professor of English & Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Tom Quirk is Professor of English at the University of Missouri-Columbia.