What an amazing novel; surpassed my already high expectations. I see how it could polarize readers, with the archaic speech patterns and soliloquies of some of the characters, and long sections of seemingly plotless, essayistic discourse about whales and whaling, but for me, that's what gave it it's singularity. Melville touched on so many different themes, not the least of which was Ahab's monomaniacal pursuit of a whale which he knows will lead to his own perdition, and the apathy of said animal compared to the fiery passion of man. Not only is this novel thought-provoking and rich with symbolism, it's also overtly and darkly amusing at times, and stylistically, beautifully written. This will certainly be on my short list of favorite pieces of fiction.