The Natural History of the Sperm Whale…, to which is Added, a Sketch of a South-Sea Whaling Voyage.


Part I is a scientific and fairly analytic description of the sperm whale, from physiology to diet to reproductive systems. Part II on the voyage begins in October 1830, observing no land between England and Cape Horn, where the Fuegians despite the gloomy terrain and wretched conditions “seem to possess a considerable share of that inestimable blessing—happiness” (p. 200). It is both charming and frightening in its description of certain adventures, and very good at describing the extremes of ennui and excitement.