"One of the strangest and most wonderful books in the world." —D. H. Lawrence
"‘Moby-Dick’ is the book which I put down with the unqualified thought, 'I wish I had written that'…" —William Faulkner
"What a book Melville has written! It gives me an idea of much greater power than his preceding ones. It hardly seemed to me that the review of it, in the ‘Literary World’, did justice to its best points." —Nathaniel Hawthorne
"The greatest novel in American literature." —Elizabeth Hardwick
"‘Moby-Dick’ is more than the greatest American novel ever written; it is a metaphysical survival manual — the best guidebook there is for a literate man or woman facing an impenetrable unknown: the future of civilization in this storm-tossed 21st century." —Nathaniel Philbrick
A masterpiece of storytelling, this epic saga pits Ahab, a brooding and fantastical sea captain, against the great white whale that crippled him. In telling the tale of Ahab's passion for revenge and the fateful voyage that ensued, Melville produced far more than the narrative of a hair-raising journey; Moby-Dick is a tale for the ages that sounds the deepest depths of the human soul.
Interspersed with graphic sketches of life aboard a whaling vessel, and a wealth of information on whales and 19th-century whaling, Melville's greatest work presents an imaginative and thrilling picture of life at sea, as well as a portrait of heroic determination. The author's keen powers of observation and firsthand knowledge of shipboard life (he served aboard a whaler himself) were key ingredients in crafting a maritime story that dramatically examines the conflict between man and nature.
“A valuable addition to the literature of the day,” said American journalist Horace Greeley on the publication of Moby-Dick in 1851 — a classic piece of understatement about a literary classic now considered by many as “the great American novel.” Read and pondered by generations, the novel remains an unsurpassed account of the ultimate human struggle against the indifference of nature and the awful power of fate.
Herman Melville est né en 1819 à New York dans une famille d'origine anglaise et hollandaise. À 19 ans, laissant son métier d'instituteur, il fit comme matelot la traversée de l'Océan jusqu'à Liverpool, puis s'embarqua sur une baleinière des mers du Sud. Il ne perdit jamais contact avec les marins. Les voyages divers fourniront à Melville la partie essentielle de son œuvre autobiographique, Typee, Omoo, Redburn, Mardi, La Vareuse blanche. En 1850, réfugié dans sa ferme solitaire, il écrit Moby Dick qui lui apportera la gloire posthume après la Première Guerre mondiale. Quelque temps avant de mourir il complète le manuscrit de Billy Budd, gabier de misaine qui sera publié en 1924. Il meurt à New York en 1891.