or, The Whale

Introduction by:
Commentaries by:

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780142437247
  • 720 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


Herman Melville’s masterpiece, one of the greatest works of imagination in literary history
Over a century and a half after its publication, Moby-Dick still stands as an indisputable literary classic. It is the story of an eerily compelling madman pursuing an unholy war against a creature as vast and dangerous and unknowable as the sea itself. But more than just a novel of adventure, more than an encyclopedia of whaling lore and legend, Moby-Dick is a haunting, mesmerizing, and important social commentary populated with several of the most unforgettable and enduring characters in literature. Never losing its cultural prescence, Melville’s nautical epic has inspired many films over the years, including the upcoming adaptation of Nathanael Philbrick’s In the Heart of the Sea, starring Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Ben Wishaw, and Brendan Gleeson, and directed by Ron Howard. Written with wonderfully redemptive humor, Moby-Dick is a profound and timeless inquiry into character, faith, and the nature of perception. This Penguin Classics edition, featuring an introduction by Andrew Delbanco and notes by Tom Quirk, prints the Northwestern-Newberry edition of Melville’s text, approved by the Center for Scholarly Editions and the Center for Editions of American Authors of the MLA.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.


Herman Melville, Introduction by: Andrew Delbanco, Commentaries by: Tom Quirk


Winner of the 2012 Fifty Books/Fifty Covers show, organized by Design Observer in association with AIGA and Designers & Books

Winner of the 2014 Type Directors Club Communication Design Award

Praise for Penguin Drop Caps:

“[Penguin Drop Caps] convey a sense of nostalgia for the tactility and aesthetic power of a physical book and for a centuries-old tradition of beautiful lettering.”
Fast Company

“Vibrant, minimalist new typographic covers…. Bonus points for the heartening gender balance of the initial selections.”
—Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

“The Penguin Drop Caps series is a great example of the power of design. Why buy these particular classics when there are less expensive, even free editions of Great Expectations? Because they’re beautiful objects. Paul Buckley and Jessica Hische’s fresh approach to the literary classics reduces the design down to typography and color. Each cover is foil-stamped with a cleverly illustrated letterform that reveals an element of the story. Jane Austen’s A (Pride and Prejudice) is formed by opulent peacock feathers and Charlotte Bronte’s B (Jane Eyre) is surrounded by flames. The complete set forms a rainbow spectrum prettier than anything else on your bookshelf.”
—Rex Bonomelli, The New York Times


“Classic reads in stunning covers—your book club will be dying.”

Table of Contents

Suggestions for Further Reading
A Note on the Text


Moby Dick

The Carpet Bag
The Spouter-Inn
The Counterpane
The Street
The Chapel
The Pulpit
The Sermon
A Bosom Friend
The Ship
The Ramadan
His Mark
The Prophet
All Astir
Going Aboard
Merry Christmas
The Lee Shore
The Advocate
Knights and Squires
Knights and Squires
Enter Ahab; to him, Stubb
The Pipe
Queen Mab
The Specksynder
The Cabin Table
The Mast-Head
The Quarter-Deck • Ahab and all
First Night-Watch
Moby Dick
The Whiteness of the Whale
The Chart
The Affidavit
The Mat-Maker
The First Lowering
The Hyena
Ahab’s Boat and Crew—Fedallah
The Spirit-Spout
The Pequod meets the Albatross
The Gam
The Town Ho’s Story
Monstrous Pictures of Whales
Less Erroneous Pictures of Whales
Of Whales in Paint, in Teeth, &c.
The Line
Stubb kills a Whale
The Dart
The Crotch
Stubb’s Supper
The Whale as a Dish
The Shark Massacre
Cutting In
The Blanket
The Funeral
The Sphynx
The Pequod meets the Jeroboam • Her Story
The Monkey-rope
Stubb & Flask kill a Right Whale
The Sperm Whale’s Head
The Right Whale’s Head
The Battering-Ram
The Great Heidelburgh Tun
Cistern and Buckets
The Prairie
The Nut
The Pequod meets the Virgin
The Honor and Glory of Whaling
Jonah Historically Regarded
The Fountain
The Tail
The Grand Armada
Schools & Schoolmasters
Fast Fish and Loose Fish
Heads or Tails
The Pequod meets the Rose Bud
The Castaway
A Squeeze of the Hand
The Cassock
The Try-Works
The Lamp
Stowing Down & Clearing Up
The Doubloon
The Pequod meets the Samuel Enderby of London
The Decanter
A Bower in the Arsacides
Measurement of the Whale’s Skeleton
The Fossil Whale
Does the Whale Diminish?
Ahab’s Leg
The Carpenter
The Deck • Ahab and the Carpenter
The Cabin • Ahab and Starbuck
Queequeg in his Coffin
The Pacific
The Blacksmith
The Forge
The Gilder
The Pequod meets the Bachelor
The Dying Whale
The Whale-Watch
The Quadrant
The Candles
The Deck
Midnight, on the Forecastle
Midnight, Aloft
The Musket
The Needle
The Log and Line
The Life-Buoy
Ahab and the Carpenter
The Pequod meets the Rachel
The Cabin •Ahab and Pip
The Hat
The Pequod meets the Delight
The Symphony
The Chase • First Day
The Chase • Second Day
The Chase • Third Day

List of Textual Emendations
Explanatory Notes
Glossary of Nautical Terms
Maps and Illustrations

PRH Book Clubs Survey