The hunt for the white whale is on this summer in Chicago with the Lookingglass Theatre production of Moby Dick. As the ultimate tale of obsession and revenge takes the stage, you can #FindTheWhiteWhale around Chicago. It's even been spotted at Harold Washington Library Center.
Considered by many to be the greatest American novel, Moby-Dick, Or, The Whale follows Ishmael's adventures as he joins Captain Ahab's single-minded quest for that fearsome whale. But Herman Melville's masterpiece is no neatly packaged action-adventure story: Ishmael, Ahab, Starbuck and the rest of the Pequod's crew wrestle with good and evil as the ambitious journey turns alternately harrowing and breathtaking.
If the storied whale hunt pulls you in to your own obsession, dive in to these titles.
While Melville drew on his own experience as a whaler, he also found much inspiration in the true story of the wreck of the Essex, a Nantucket whaleship destroyed by a whale in 1820. In the Heart of the Sea describes that ordeal, from the fraught passage to South America to the whale's furious approach to the remaining crew's struggle to survive.
Into the Deep, a PBS American Experience film, offers a look at the history of the whaling industry from the 17th century to its demise after the Civil War.
The epic has inspired numerous TV, movie and stage adaptations, and even a card game. With a screenplay cowritten by Ray Bradbury, the 1956 film Moby Dick, starring Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab, is among the best known.