Herman Melville

Book illustration

Herman Melville was born 200 years ago today (1st August 1819). He was an American writer.

His novel Moby-Dick (1851) is the story of Captain Ahab’s obsessive quest for revenge on Moby Dick, a gigantic white whale that bit off his leg. The novel begins:

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.

You can read it at Project Gutenberg or – with explanatory notes – at Power Moby-Dick. You can listen to a number of actors, some of them quite famous, reading it aloud at Moby Dick Big Read.