Misunderstood and unappreciated in its time, Melville`s monumental work has become the classic epic of American literature. He tells the dual story of the initiation of young Ishmael, a schoolteacher, into the life of a seaman, and the tragedy of Captain Ahab`s obsession with the white whale. The novel begins with a lengthy dissection of the word WHALE and its origins, and includes numerous citations about whales and the hunting of them, all taken from the extensive notes Melville accumulated during his research at the New York Public Library, and which he could not bear to leave out. After this rather pedantic beginning, the story proper begins. Another exploration of Melville`s perennial themes of good vs. evil and the fundamental isolation of the human condition, MOBY-DICK is a layered, complex, allusive book that is part rip-roaring adventure tale, part quest, part travel chronicle, part picaresque coming-of-age novel. At the end of the wrenching narrative, Ishmael sets himself the task of telling the tale that would make Melville`s reputation as one of the greatest American writers.