3.94 (2,869 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback
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An extraordinary journey into the underwater world of the whale -- to tie in with a BBC film-length documentary hosted also by the author. Moby Dick is a book made mythic by its whale; but the reverse is also true. After Melville published his book in 1851, no one saw whales in quite the same way again. Melville created a modern myth out of an already legendary beast. But what is the true nature of the whale? Why does it fascinate us? All his life, Philip Hoare has been obsessed with these creatures, from the huge skeletons in London's Natural History Museum to adult encounters with the wild animals themselves. Whales haunt him, as they seem to elide with dark fantasies of sea-serpents and other antediluvian monsters that swim in our collective unconscious. In 'Leviathan', he seeks to locate and identify that obsession. Why does the whale so vividly inhabit our imaginations? Is it a symbol of Edenic innocence in a time of threatened species and climate change? Or an older emblem of evil, the grotesque fish which swallowed Jonah?Travelling around the globe in search of the whale, Philip Hoare sheds light on our perennial fascination with the strange creatures of the sea, whose nature remains tantalizingly undiscovered.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 143 x 219 x 44mm | 686g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0007230133
  • 9780007230136
  • 1,234,309

Review quote

Reviews for Leviathan: 'A superb book!This is the book [Phillip Hoare] was born to write, a classic of its kind.' Rachel Cooke, The Observer '!studded with generous illustrations and poetic details!In Hoare's hands whales are almost limitlessly strange and interesting.' Bee Wilson, Sunday Times Praise for 'England's Lost Eden': 'No one who is interested in the complexity of our society could fail to be thrilled and quite possibly entranced by this remarkable volume.' Robert mcCrum, Observer. 'Quite startling beauty.' Sunday Times 'Arresting!Hoare writes with a mesmeric facility.' Sunday Telegraph 'Philip Hoare's writing is quite untrammelled by convention and opens up astonishing views at every turn.' W.G. Sebald
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About Philip Hoare

Philip Hoare's is the author of several books, including 'Serious Pleasures: The Life of Stephen Tennant'; 'Noel Coward'; 'Oscar Wilde's Last Stand'; 'Spike Island'; and 'England's Lost Eden'. He lives in Hoxton, London, and Southampton, and each summer visits Cape Cod, where, as a member of the Center for Coastal Studies, he undertakes twice-daily expeditions to watch its whales.
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Rating details

2,869 ratings
3.94 out of 5 stars
5 34% (971)
4 37% (1,048)
3 21% (601)
2 7% (196)
1 2% (53)

Our customer reviews

<p>Philip Hoare -- a fine writer who was warmly praised by the late, much lamented <a href="http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/WEBSITE/WWW/WEBPAGES/search.php?key=Sebald">W.G. Sebald</a> -- has written his finest book yet. <a href="http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/WEBSITE/WWW/WEBPAGES/showbook.php?id=0007230133">Leviathan</a> is a wonderful meditation on whales, whaling, man's long relationship with these great, beautiful, beguiling beasts, and a study of the best book ever to be written on the eternal subject of men and whales -- Herman Melville's matchless, mythic <a href="http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/WEBSITE/WWW/WEBPAGES/search.php?key=Melville+Moby&by=title">Moby-Dick</a>.</p> <p>In <a href="http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/WEBSITE/WWW/WEBPAGES/showbook.php?id=0007230133">Leviathan</a>, Hoare shows how the destinies of men and whales have been linked over many, many years, wonders about his own obsession with the creature -- an obsession that Southampton-born Hoare has had since childhood -- and looks at how Melville's classic, but still radically contemporary book changed for good the way we look at whales -- and the way we look at ourselves. An extraordinary achievement.</p>show more
by Mark Thwaite
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