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Moby Dick By Herman Melville Review/Summary

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 Moby Dick By Herman Melville Review/Summary

Writer: Herman Melville
Publication Vintage Classics
ISBN-13 978-1784872830
Language: English
Genre: --
Best Sellers Rank: #318,344 in Books
Custoer review 4.3/5
Publish Date: 18 October 1851

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is a literary masterpiece written by Herman Melville in 1851, and it tells the story of a vengeful mission led by Captain Ahab on the whaling ship Pequod to hunt down the giant white sperm whale, Moby Dick, who previously injured him. The novel is primarily narrated by Ishmael, a sailor on board the Pequod, and it details his experiences during the whaling expedition.

While Moby-Dick is now regarded as one of the greatest American novels, it received mixed reviews upon its initial publication and was a commercial failure, going out of print before Melville's death in 1891. Despite this, the book's reputation grew during the 20th century, and it is now widely regarded as a classic work of American literature.

Melville drew on his own experiences as a sailor, including his time on whaling ships, to create a vivid and authentic depiction of life aboard the Pequod. He also extensively researched whaling literature to accurately describe the process of whale hunting, as well as the extraction of whale oil, which was a valuable commodity at the time.

In addition to its detailed descriptions of whaling, Moby-Dick explores a range of themes, including social status, morality, and the existence of God. The book's literary influences are numerous and include Shakespeare, Carlyle, and the Bible. Melville employs a range of writing styles and literary devices, such as songs, poetry, and catalogs, as well as Shakespearean stage directions, soliloquies, and asides, to create a rich and multifaceted narrative.

Melville was deeply influenced by the work of Nathaniel Hawthorne, with whom he became friends during the writing of Moby-Dick. Hawthorne's own literary style is said to have inspired Melville to revise and deepen the novel. In fact, Moby-Dick is dedicated to Hawthorne "in token of my admiration for his genius."

The novel was initially published as The Whale in London in 1851, and it was released under its definitive title, Moby-Dick, or, The Whale, in a single-volume edition in New York a month later. The British version had some sensitive passages censored, while the New York edition had a last-minute change of title. Reviewers in Britain were mostly positive, but American reviewers were more critical.

In conclusion, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is a literary masterpiece that explores a range of themes and employs a wide variety of writing styles and literary devices. Despite its initial lack of commercial success, the novel is now regarded as one of the greatest works of American literature and is widely celebrated for its vivid and authentic portrayal of life on board a whaling ship.

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