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Want more deets? You probably know Moby-Dick as a huge, long, difficult novel about hunting an insane, bloodthirsty whale. Well, we at Shmoop are here to show you that it's also an insane, bloodthirsty novel about hunting a huge, long, difficult whale.
Moby-Dickwritten inrecounts the adventures of the narrator Ishmael as he sails on the whaling ship, Pequod, under the command of the monomaniacal Captain Ahab. Melville dedicated the book to fellow Dark RomanticNathaniel Hawthorne : "In token of my admiration for his genius, this book is inscribed to Nathaniel Hawthorne. We also offer a short story version of the chapter, The Chase for your convenience.
O n 5 August a party of writers and publishers climbed Monument Mountain in Massachusetts, during the American equivalent of a hike in the Lakes. Melville, who was just 31, had never met Hawthorne. But after a day in the open air, a quantity of champagne, and a sudden downpour, the younger man was enraptured with his new friend, who had "dropped germinous seeds into my soul".
Sascha Morrell does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under Creative Commons licence. This is a novel that announces itself as the tale of a whaling voyage, and expands from there as if to encompass the whole of existence.
The book is sailor Ishmael 's narrative of the obsessive quest of Ahabcaptain of the whaling ship Pequodfor revenge on Moby Dickthe giant white sperm whale that on the ship's previous voyage bit off Ahab's leg at the knee. A contribution to the literature of the American Renaissancethe work's genre classifications range from late Romantic to early Symbolist. Moby-Dick was published to mixed reviews, was a commercial failure, and was out of print at the time of the author's death in Its reputation as a " Great American Novel " was established only in the 20th century, after the centennial of its author's birth.
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T hursday marks the th birthday of Herman Melville — the author of the greatest unread novel in the English language. It is the Mount Everest of literature: huge and apparently insurmountable, its snowy peak as elusive as the tail of the great white whale himself. Perhaps it was because I saw it on a tiny black-and-white TV, but the whole story seemed impenetrable to me.