Normally included in the list of great western civ classics. For the life of me, I can not understand why. My hardbound copy has 419 pages. The actual story is roughly 100ish pages and is compelling, perhaps a 4 star rating. The rest is borderline absurd. Melville dabbles in many fields he has limited erudition. He wears the hat of the historian, zoologist, philosopher, theologian and writer. Unfortunately, he is a bad historian and zoologist, and only a mediocre philosopher and theologian. He also has the annoying tendency to switch to Early Modern English, even though the book and story are centered around 1850, hundreds of years past when Modern English replaced EME. A few times for literary effect, fine. Every time you enter into highbrow manifestos, no. Why did Melville do this...because he read Shakespeare for the first time just before writing Moby Dick. I guess it could have been worse. Melville could have read Chaucer and then we would have had to suffer through Middle English. Moby Dick is not terrible. It is also not a great classic.