Avast! Google Doodle celebrates Herman Melville and 'Moby Dick'

“Call me Google.”

The search giant has released a seaworthy new Doodle today in honor of the 161st anniversary of Moby Dick‘s publication. Herman Melville’s seminal novel was first published in Britain on October 18, 1851, though it didn’t exactly garner rave reviews until much later; contemporary critic Henry F. Chorley of the London Athenaeum called it an “absurd book” and named Melville among “the incorrigibles who occasionally tantalize us with indications of genius, while they constantly summon us to endure monstrosities, carelessnesses, and other such harassing manifestations of bad taste.”

But how do you really feel, Chorles?

This Doodle also comes in the middle of Moby Dick Big Read — okay, get all your giggles out — an ambitious audio project that’s recruited performers like Tilda Swinton and Stephen Fry to read and record one chapter of Melville’s novel each day. Currently, the Big Read is up to Chapter 33; you can download the whole shebang on the project’s website.

Want even more Dick? Check out this neat little video, which animates the Doodle and pairs it with a jaunty tune. You can also take the plunge into Melville’s masterpiece itself via Google Books or Project Gutenberg. Thanks, public domain!

Read more:
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New Google Doodle celebrates ‘Star Trek’

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