One of the funniest and strangest narrators in literature goes to sea with a maniacal captain on a doomed whaling voyage. Ishmael’s rollicking digressions on everything from whaling to philosophy may have put you off in high school, but they also happen to be some of the liveliest and most bizarre passages you’ll ever read.
Herman Melville was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. His first two books gained much attention, though they were not bestsellers, and his popularity declined precipitously only a few years later. By the time of his death he had been almost completely forgotten, but his longest novel, Moby-Dick — largely considered a failure during his lifetime, and most responsible for Melville's fall from favor with the reading public — was rediscovered in the 20th century as one of the chief literary masterpieces of both American and world literature.