Herman Melville (1819 - 1891) was an American novelist short story writer, essayist and poet.
Please note: This is a vintage recording. The audio quality may not be up to modern day standards.
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By JAY on 05-12-10
I am writing this review in response to all the other reviews that were critical of Mr. Duncan Carse narration. If the listener takes the effort to listen, he or she will realize Ishmael is not an illiterate seaman as played by Richard Basehart in the movie version of Moby Dick. Ishmael is well educated, as indicated
within the first few pages. Ishmael speaks of the Old Persians, the Greeks. This is the language of an educated man, especially in 1851. The other readers(god bless them as Joe Biden would say)pass over these lines without a twitch. Mr. Carse speaks them as if he has experienced them. Everything can be criticized in some manner, which the modern intelligence seems to relish. It is truly difficult to feel sorry for some one who has broken his arm if you haven’t broken a bone. Mr. Carse make you feel he has experienced everything he talks about. I think the problem is not with the narrator, but with the readers. Oooops
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
By hughesthat on 09-11-14
The Voice of Antiquity and Experience
When I decided to get Moby Dick I took some time listening to the many samples and reading the reviews.
In the end I opted for this version (at the time there weren’t many good reviews) and I am so glad that I did. I enjoyed every minute of it and encourage you to get this one too. Why?
Some reviewers have criticised Duncan Carse’s delivery from various angles - being dated, questionable accents, poor editing etc.
I am not sure when this recording dates from, but I guess from 1940’s or 50’s.
While the received pronunciation might seem to be from a different age, Carse’s voice and delivery is perfectly suited to the story. I also thought his accents were great. They are not perfect renditions, but they do not lack character and Ahab in particular inspires dread and foreboding. The often archaic terms and expressions do not trouble Carse in the slightest and seem completely natural to him. As for the recording. It isn’t perfect, but I found the sighs, sounds of pages turning or of corrected mispronunciations to be charming - they lend a warmth from which you can imagine the reader sitting by a roaring fire on a cold night.
It turns out that Carse was an explorer himself who surveyed the antarctic and South Georgia for the Royal Geographical Society either side of WW2, during which he served in the Royal Navy. His bio is full of adventures not unlike that undertaken by our hero Ishmael and he would have been familiar with many of the sights that Ishmael describes as well as the nautical terms.
Some reviewers have advised getting an abridged version.
I think these reviewers are missing the point. The plot is a vehicle for all the tangents and asides about whaling, philosophy, religion, culture, relationships, the human condition. On it’s own, the plot doesn’t amount to much. If you want an abridged version how about (Spoiler Alert): Man joins whaling boat. Man describes whaling boat. Man discovers captain has unhealthy obsession with Big Whale. Search for Big Whale. Find Big Whale.
The joy of the book is in the wandering narrative and detailed descriptions.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful