1950 Random House, Toronto, part of The Modern Library
Intro by Leon Howard, prof of English, The University of California
Taken into our library by a date-stamp JUN 17 ’68.
3-1-77 the above were handwritten. Below were inked by date-stamp
Sticker inside: Points: 46 Lvl: 12.0 (Some kind of late-90s--early 00s reading point system for schoolkids)
From front flap: “ In the little more than one hundred years since Moby Dick was first published, critics have probed its inexhaustible symbolic treasures. The general reader has also found great wealth as he participated in the hunt for the white whale. He encountered an adventure story of magnificent sweep and suspense. From its incomparably effective opening sentence, “Call me Ishmael,” to its dramatic end when the white whale triumphs and all hands, except Ishmael, perish, Melville makes everyone--the reader most of all--share Captain Ahab’s obsessive belief that he alone can destroy the white, evil leviathan. Moby Dick is more than a tale of the pursuit of a monster; it is an allegory of relentless hatred and evil redeemed by man’s indomitable courage.”
Now, my say-so on the above:
Look at the focus of the front flap: Ahab. Yes, it does show how Ishmael "bookends" the novel, but the crux of the matter always revolves around Ahab. Yet he doesn't even come in for such a long time. Yes, you could say the character and his presence hovers in the background.
And talk about giving it away, how the white whale triumphs and nobody lives except Ishmael.
Let's take a long look at the last sentence: "Moby Dick is more than a tale of the pursuit of a monster; it is an allegory of relentless hatred and evil redeemed by man’s indomitable courage.” Where was it ever "redeemed"? Where? Because Ishmael lives to tell the tale? Redeemed, according to Merriam-Webster is "Do something that compensates for poor past performance or behavior." What gets compensated for? Ahab dies in his struggle, his obsessive stalking of a natural beast. Sure, he alone put his hatred for the ills of the world on the whale, but for him to get destroyed by it doesn't compensate for anything.