I was in that predicament many years ago, when I
happened to talk to an English
major specializing in
Here's what he told me: At the time that Melville
wanted to publish his story, publishers had limited
capacity so they only were publishing works of
. When he presented his story to
the publishers, they rejected it, citing that reason.
Melville, being the savvy guy he was, went home
and took a treatise on cetaceans and literally split
it into several sections. He opened his Moby Dick
story and shoved a few pages of his treatise in,
flipped a few pages forward, and shoved a few
more pages of the treatise in, and so on. Then
he took it back to the publisher who now saw
the scholarly value of the work and published it.
Now, the way to read Moby Dick, without becoming
bored: Read until the story line doesn't continue,
then skip a few pages until you find the storyline,
then continue. Do this throughout the book and
it will be one of the best books
you have ever read.
Some people think of Melville as the father of modern
fiction, though his non-fiction works are amazing too.