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Ahab's Rolling Sea Reviews

Ahab's Rolling Sea by Richard J King

Ahab's Rolling Sea: A Natural History of "moby-Dick"

Richard J King

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1 review

Category: Non-fiction, History
Imprint: University of Chicago Press
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 21 Oct 2019
ISBN: 9780226514963

Although Herman Melville's Moby-Dick is beloved as one of the most profound and enduring works of American fiction, we rarely consider it a work of nature writing--or even a novel of the sea

4 stars out of 5
2 Nov 2019

"As well as being a mythic tale, Moby-Dick is a superb guide to oceanography"

To ‘Moby Dickheads’, Ahab’s Rolling Sea is a treasure trove. King situates Melville as a person of his time, writing amid a quickening pace of discoveries about the natural world but, pre-On the Origin of Species, inclined to couch them as further disclosures of God’s design. Still, Moby-Dick prefigures Darwin ‘by de-centering the human’. Less convincing is King’s gloss on the book as a ‘proto-environmentalist’ text, with Ahab as a stand-in for ‘Big Oil’.