Although Herman Melville probably never imagined the eco revolution we are experiencing in this century, the environmental message in his novel Moby-Dick, written exactly 161 years ago, persists over time and is one of the deepest in English literature.
The perception of nature of Melville is as mighty as the oceans he describes in his work. As Melville himself proclaimed: "To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be who have tried it.”
The book portrays a sailor who attempts to hunt and kill a white whale in an act of revenge since the whale destroyed his boat and attacked him in a previous encounter. The sailor’s motivation is the belief that the animal attacked him with evil intentions. However, the author reflects that revenge is a malign act against an animal that only tried to defend itself when it felt it was in danger. The book was published on October 18, 1851.
The book has been reedited countless times and the story, which has a strong focus on nature, has inspired many people struggling for animal welfare.
In its anniversary, Google Books has published the entire novel online. You can read Moby Dick for free following this link.