Home > I. Books > Moby Dick–still the Great American Novel

Moby Dick–still the Great American Novel

File:1840 Escudos.jpg

It’s hard to hide a passionately held opinion. RT wrote this review of what is in his estimation still the best novel ever written in the United States while he was surfing around GoodReads–and thinks it’s worth sharing (and by all means, set aside some time to tackle the masterpiece again):

this is the deal with melville: he was a poet, in love with language, archetypal characters, and whaling. sorry, women need not apply. moby dick is like the america of its author’s time: unbelievably tough, unforgiving, and rich in experience. this is life lived flat out in the face of heaven and hell. don’t whine; eat your chowder and get ready to spend the next several years on a boat travelling the world (before the panama and suez canals). don’t expect to make any money off the trip. do expect to encounter quakers “with a vengeance.”

if you love intensity and drama, if you want to get a better idea of what exactly it is that makes men so crazy, if you love the absolute gorgeousness of american 19th century prose, if you are willing to put up with digressions on the hval, buy this edition and read it (if for no other reason than the Rockwell Kent illustrations). there are still plenty of people out there hunting the white whale.


(& women should note that if they essay this wild fruit (and yes, women in MD are purely incidental), they will get the toughness part as well as any man and the poetry better.)

(&& this is the second post on Moby Dick in these pages.)

Photo: 1840 Gold Escudo, Ecuador; mentioned in the novel. WikiCmns; Public Domain.


  1. February 26, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Hello there. My uncle, while attending West Point, had an important exam in English literature to take. He told his study group that the only book they need read was Moby Dick. Everything to be found in any other novel can be found together in MD.

  2. February 26, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    margo: i don’t know if i’d go as far as your uncle…but i do love the book and especially its language. things have been incredibly busy here…please check your email for my (more) detailed explanation of events…and yes, i’m still struggling with what the DoGs will wear to the coronation… eric

  1. June 7, 2013 at 2:53 am

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