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The natural history of the sperm whale : its anatomy and physiology, food, spermaceti, ambergris, rise and progress of the fishery, chase and capture, cutting in, and trying out, description of the ships, boats, men, and instruments used in the attack ..

Date: 1839
Dimensions:
Overall: 208 x 139 x 37 mm, 0.55 kg
Medium: Ink on paper, cloth covered boards, gilt
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Books and journals
Object Name: Book
Object No: 00003818
Place Manufactured:London

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    Description
    Book by Thomas Beale titled "The natural history of the sperm whale : its anatomy and physiology, food, spermaceti, ambergris, rise and progress of the fishery, chase and capture, cutting in, and trying out, description of the ships, boats, men, and instruments used in the attack : with an account of its favourite places of resort : to which is added a sketch of a South-sea whaling voyage : embracing a description of the extent, as well as the adventures and accidents that occured during the voyage in which the author was personally engaged".
    SignificanceThomas Beale's book was regarded as the major work on the whaling industry and the sperm whale of the 19th century. It was heavily used by Herman Melville to supplement and as a direct reference of scentific knowledge on whales for his classic novel 'Moby Dick'.


    HistoryThomas Beale was a ships surgeon in the mid-19th century aboard a whaling ship. During his time at sea he took a great interest in and astutely observed the whaling process and consequently the physiology of whales.
    The discovery of Melville's copy of 'The natural history of the sperm whale' and his notes contained within, during the 1930's has been a source of great study for scholars in how it was used to shape the character of the whale and the industry in 'Moby Dick'.

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