Herman Melville

Penguin Readers Level 7: Moby Dick (ELT Graded Reader)
  • Penguin Readers Level 7: Moby Dick (ELT Graded Reader)

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    When the young sailor "Ishmael" decides to sail on the Pequod with the mysterious Captain Ahab, he has no idea about Ahab's plans to get revenge on the great white whale Moby Dick. Ahab wants to find and kill the whale at any cost - even if it means losing his ship and his crew.

Herman Melville (1819-91) became in his late twenties a highly successful author of exotic novels based on his experiences as a sailor - writing in quick succession Typee, Omoo, Redburn and White-Jacket. However, his masterpiece Moby-Dick was met with incomprehension and the other later works which are now the basis of his reputation, such as Bartleby, the Scrivener and The Confidence-Man, were failures. Melville stopped writing fiction and the rest of his long life was spent first as a lecturer and then, for nineteen years, as a customs official in New York City. He was also the author of the immensely long poem Clarel, which was similarly dismissed. At the end of his life he wrote Billy Budd, Sailor which was published posthumously in 1924.