Though little-regarded in its time, the book is now regarded as one of the great novels of all time. The initial cold reception to MD was due – at least in part – to a printing error when the original copy neglected to include the epilogue.
Imagining their simple-minded American cousins capable of accidentally writing a story narrated by someone who does not survive the events being narrated, the critics attacked Melville, and American reviewers, cowed by their sophisticated English peers, adopted their posture. Moby-Dick sold poorly, as would everything else Melville wrote from then on.1
I read it from a desire to expose myself to more great literature; and I was hooked.2 I now own four printed copies, an audio book, two companion works, a print, and companion novel: Ahab’s Star.
This page exists as a resource for those who would like to know more about this work.
Reading Out Loud or, The Whale: extols the virtues of reading Moby Dick aloud. Meville is a joy for the ear as well as the mind; and the novel lends itself to voices and interpretation.
http://www.mobydickbigread.com is an audio version of Moby Dick with individual chapters read and submitted by fans. The narration and recording quality vary greatly.