The search engine’s tribute to Melville’s best known work coincides with the 161st anniversary of the novel’s first publication in Britain in 1851. The doodle depicts a scene from the book in which Captain Ahab commandeers a boat to strike at the huge white whale.
The tribute also coincides with an ambitious project to record all 135 chapters of the novel over 135 days, with readings by famous fans including David Cameron, Tilda Swinton, Stephen Fry and Simon Callow broadcast daily online.
Melville’s masterpiece is narrated by the sailor Ishmael, telling of his voyage on the whaling ship the Pequod, under Captain Ahab. Ishmael soon discovers that Ahab has one purpose on his voyage, to seek revenge on the ferocious sperm whale, Moby-Dick, who bit off his leg.
Through the journey of the main characters, the concepts of class and social status, good and evil, and the existence of God are all examined as the main characters speculate upon their personal beliefs and their places in the universe.
Unappreciated in Melville’s lifetime, Moby-Dick is now, according to the American academic and author Jay Parini, a book which “permeates a culture, reinforcing and shaping ideas: ambition, for example, and the drive to conquer nature, the imperial drive, the wish to pursue an ideal to the last degree”.
From: guardian.co.uk – Read more