Book cover of Ahab's Rolling Sea: A Natural History of "Moby-Dick" by Richard J. Kingby Richard J. King

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. Yet Pulitzer Prize–winning author Annie Dillard avers Moby-Dick is the “best book ever written about nature,” and nearly the entirety of the story is set on the waves, with scarcely a whiff of land. In fact, Ishmael’s sea yarn is in conversation with the nature writing of Emerson and Thoreau, and Melville himself did much more than live for a year in a cabin beside a pond. He set sail: to the far remote Pacific Ocean, spending more than three years at sea before writing his masterpiece in 1851.

Interview with the Author

Podcast art for The World in Time / Lapham's QuarterlyThe World in Time / Lapham’s Quarterly
Episode 55: Richard J. King
2/14/20          34 min

Podcast art for The Maritime History Channel By The North American Society For Oceanic HistoryThe Maritime History Channel by The North American Society for Oceanic History
NASOH #023 – Ahab’s Rolling Sea: A Natural History of Moby-Dick
11/8/20         46 min

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