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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $17
  • July 1999
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-97283-2
  • 5.7 × 9.3 in / 752 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

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Second Edition


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Herman Melville (Author), Hershel Parker (Editor), Harrison Hayford (Editor)


For this Sesquicentennial Norton Critical Edition, the Northwestern-Newberry text of Moby-Dick has been generously footnoted to include dozens of biographical discoveries, mainly from Hershel Parker's work on his two-volume biography of Melville.

A section of "Whaling and Whalecraft" features prose and graphics by John B. Putnam, a sample of contemporary whaling engravings, as well as, new to this edition, an engraving of Tupai Cupa, the real-life inspiration for the character of Queequeg.

Evoking Melville’s fascination with the fluidity of categories like savagery and civilization, the image of Tupai Cupa fittingly introduces "Before Moby-Dick: International Controversy over Melville," a new section that documents the ferocity of religions, political, and sexual hostility toward Melville in reaction to his early books, beginning with Typee in 1846.

The image of Tupai Cupa also evokes Melville’s interest in the mystery of self-identity and the possibility of knowing another person’s "queenly personality" (Chapter 119). That theme (focused on Melville, Ishmael, and Ahab) is pursued in "A Handful of Critical Challenges," from Walter E. Bezanson’s classic centennial study through Harrison Hayford’s meditation on "Loomings" and recent essays by Camille Paglia and John Wenke.

In "Reviews and Letters by Melville," a letter has been redated and a wealth of new biographical material has been added to the footnotes, notably to Melville’s "Hawthorne and His Mosses." "Analogues and Sources" retains classic pieces by J. N. Reynolds and Owen Chase, as well as new findings by Geoffrey Sanborn and Steven Olsen-Smith. In "Reviews of Moby-Dick" emphasizes the ongoing religious hostility toward Melville and highlights new discoveries, such as the first-known Scottish review of The Whale. "Posthumous Praise and the Melville Revival: 1893-1927" collects belated, enthusiastic praise up through that of William Faulkner. "Biographical Cross-Light" is Hershel Parker’s somber look at what writing Moby-Dick cost Melville and his family.

From Foreword through Selected Bibliography, this Sesquicentennial Norton Critical Edition is uniquely valuable as the most up-to-date and comprehensive documentary source for study of Moby-Dick.




    MAP: Melville’s Voyage and the Route of the Pequod

    MAP: Principal Ports of Southeastern New England (mid-1880s)

    The Text of Moby-Dick

    Melville’s Reading and Moby Dick: An Overview and a Bibliography

    1. Whaling and Whalecraft
    2. Glossary of Nautical Terms
    3. John B. Putnam - Whaling and Whalecraft: A Pictorial Account
    4. Gansevoort Melville - A Scene at the “Hermitage”
    5. Anonymous - [An American Sailor on the Missionaries]
    6. [Nathaniel Hawthorne] - [Melville’s “Freedom of View”]
    7. Anonymous - [A Unique Eyewitness]
    8. [Margaret Fuller] - [A Challenge to the Sewing Societies]
    9. Anonymous - [Happy Dog: Herman in the Typee Valley]
    10. H[enry T.] C[heever] - [A Prurient Book, That Preys on the imagination]
    11. Anonymous - [Melville’s Moral Obtuseness]
    12. Anonymous - Typee: The Traducer of Missions
    13. Anonymous - [Melville and Missionary Fund-Raising-A Review of Omoo]
    14. [Thurlow Weed?] - Who Reads an American Book?
    15. Anonymous - [Melville’s Spite against Religion and Its Missionaries]
    16. [B.] - [Polynesian Cannibalism vs. American Slavery]
    17. Horace Greeley - [Up the Lakes, June 8, 1847 (The Tone is Bad)]
    18. G[eorge] W[ashington] P[eck] - [Melville as Sexual Braggart]
    19. W[illiam] O. B[ourne] - [Traducer of Loftier and Better Men]
    20. William O. Bourne - [Melville’s Encouraging of “Rum and Romanism”]
    21. Anonymous - [The Total Failure of Protestant Missionaries]
    22. E. B. H. - Catholic and Protestant Missions
    23. [William Gilmore Simms?] - [Review of Mardi]
    24. Anonymous - [Civilized Bodies, Barbarous Souls]
    25. Anonymous - [The Improving Condition of “Live Cargo”]
    26. Anonymous - [A Magisterial Caution from “Maga”]
    27. Anonymous - [The “Middle Passage” for the Irish]
    28. Anonymous - [Melville: Prejudiced, Incompetent, and Truthless]
    29. Anonymous - [Unfortunate Mr. Melville]
    30. [Evert A. Duyckinck] - [A Defense against the “Anti-Popery Mania”]
    31. [Evert A. Duyckinck] - [White-Jacket and a Warning to Melville]
    32. Anonymous - [A Jibe at “The Essential Dignity of Man”]


    Reviews and Letters by Melville

    1. Two Reviews in the Literary World
    2. Etchings of a Whaling Cruise
    3. Hawthorne and his Mosses

    Melville’s Letters at the Time of Moby-Dick

    1. To Richard H. Dana, Jr., May 1, 1850
    2. To Richard Bentley, June 27, 1850
    3. To Evert A. Duyckinck, December 13, 1850
    4. To Evert A. Duyckinck, February 12, 1851
    5. To Nathaniel Hawthorne, [April 16?], 1851
    6. To Nathaniel Hawthorne, Early May, 1851
    7. To Nathaniel Hawthorne, June 29, 1851
    8. To Richard Bentley, July 20, 1851
    9. To Nathaniel Hawthorne, July 22, 1851
    10. To Sarah Huyler Morewood, September 12 [or 19?], 1851
    11. To Evert A. Duyckinck, November 7, 1851
    12. To Nathaniel Hawthorne, November 17, 1851
    13. To Sophia Peabody Hawthorne, January 8, 1852

    Analogues and Sources

    1. Ralph Waldo Emerson - [Journal Entry on a White Whale]
    2. J. N. Reynolds - Mocha Dick: Or the white whale of the Pacific
    3. Owen Chase - [The Essex Wrecked by a Whale]
    4. Herman Melville - [Manuscript Notes on Owen Chase]
    5. David H. Battenfeld - The Source for the Hymn in Moby-Dick
    6. Howard P. Vincent - [Sources of “The Try-Works”]
    7. Geoffrey Sanborn - The Name of the Devil: Melville’s Other “Extracts” for Moby-Dick
    8. Steven Olsen-Smith [Melville’s Poetic Use of Thomas Beale’s
    9. Natural History of the Sperm Whale]

    Reviews of Moby-Dick

    1. Anonymous - [A Credit to His Country]
    2. Anonymous - [An Ill-Compounded Mixture]
    3. Anonymous - A Singular Medley
    4. Anonymous - [People Who Delight in Mulligatawny]
    5. Anonymous - [A Most Extraordinary Work]
    6. Anonymous - [Fascination No Criticism Will Thwart]
    7. Anonymous - [Not Worth the Money Asked for It]
    8. “H.” - [A Primitive Formation of Profanity and Indecency]
    9. Anonymous - [Not Lacking Much of Being a Great Work]
    10. Anonymous - [Not Worth the Money Asked for It]
    11. [George Ripley] - [Melville’s Whaliad, the Epic of Whaling]
    12. [Evert A. Duyckincki] - [A Friend Does His Christian Duty]
    13. Anonymous - [Too Much for Our Money]
    14. Anonymous - [Information: The Only Redeeming Point]
    15. Anonymous - [A “Many-Sided” Book]
    16. [William A. Butler] - [A Prose Epic on Whaling]
    17. Anonymous - [Pristine Powers and Old Extravagance]
    18. Anonymous - [A Most Agreeable and Exciting Work]
    19. Anonymous - [Mr. Melville Has Survived His Reputation]
    20. [William Gilmore Simms?] - [Grounds for a Writ de lunatico against Melville]

    Posthumous Praise and the Melville Revival: 1893-1927

    1. Anonymous - [A Marvelous Odyssey]
    2. Archibald MacMechan - The Best Sea Story Ever Written
    3. William Livingston Alden - [Let Us Have a Melville Society]
    4. Louis Becke - [The Strangest, Wildest, and Saddest Story] “A Wayfarer”
    5. [H. W. Massingham?] - [A Deposition from a New Reader]
    6. Christopher Morley and H. M. Tomlinson - [Moby-Dick: “The Immense Book of the Sea”]
    7. Anonymous - [A Marvelous Odyssey]
    8. William Faulkner - [I Wish I Had Written That]

    A Handful of Critical Challenges

    1. Walter E. Bezanson - Moby-Dick: Work of Art
    2. Harrison Hayford - “Loomings”: Yarns and Figures in the Fabric
    3. Paul Brodtkorb, Jr. - [Selfhood and Others]
    4. Harrison Hayford - Unnecessary Duplicates: A Key to the Writing of Moby-Dick
    5. Camille Paglia - [Moby-Dick as Sexual Protest]
    6. John Wenke - Ahab and “the Larger, Darker, Deeper Part”
    7. Biographical Cross-Light
    8. Hershel Parker - “Damned by Dollars”: Moby-Dick and the Price of Genius

    Selected Bibiography