View Full Version : For a long time something about Moby Dick has troubled me

06-04-2007, 09:09 AM
I read that Moby Dick is generally considered one of the greatest American novels, along with Huck Finn. I read it and wasn't too thrilled. Sure, I appriciated the richness and excellency of the prose; Melville is certainly a great writer. But I couldn't and can't understand why Moby Dick is as famous as it is. I'm new here, and I really want to know what it is about this book that I don't get: what is it that makes Moby Dick the greatest? I'm not attacking the book; I genuinly want to know. And perhaps I could come to have a deeper appriciation for it.

06-04-2007, 09:19 AM
That's not an easy question to answer in a post. Suffice it to say, the great prose, the fascinating characters (Ahab: "They think me mad--Starbuck does; but I'm demoniac, I am madness maddened! That wild madness that's only calm to comprehend itself!" or "Speak not to me of blasphemy, man; I'd strike the sun if it insulted me."), the tremendous insights into human nature, the philosophical themes, the greater than life drama. Why not go through wiki's entry on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moby-Dick.

06-04-2007, 01:19 PM
Understand also that you do not have to like, enjoy or feel anything for all great books. Even knowing what is great about it.
Just consider, there is people who do not enjoy poetry - thus knowing the hundred reasons why Dante is great won't help them to enjoy it at all.

06-05-2007, 06:44 AM
It took seventy years for Moby-Dick to be appreciated properly. It wasn't until the Modernists cited Melville's influence that his work found mainstream literary acceptance.

Moby-Dick is hailed as a masterpiece because of its prose poetry, its philosophical depth, its ambition, and its formal innovation. It's certainly not a conventional novel, and it frustrates as many readers as it fascinates. But in my opinion it's well worth the effort. And it's a tragedy that during his lifetime, Melville never received the acclaim for it that he deserved.

06-05-2007, 08:12 AM
Melville, Moby Dick: Metaphor is all in this novel. Riddle wrapped in an enigma. Obsession. You also have to appreciate the contemporaries in the so called transcendental group. There's a book that will take three readings. quasimodo1

06-05-2007, 10:10 AM
I'm going to give it another go. You never know.