Herman Melville (Moby Dick)

American writer Herman Melville was born 1st August 1819, so I thought I would pay tribute to him. He was also a short story writer, essayist, and poet and is best known for his novel Moby-Dick. His first three books, including Typee and Moby Dick, gained much contemporary attention (the first, Typee, becoming a bestseller).

The novel Moby Dick features the crew of a doomed whaling vessel called the Pequod, sailing from Nantucket and captained by one legged Captain Ahab, who becomes obsessed with the idea of hunting down and killing a White Whale named Moby Dick, who bit off his leg during a previous encounter. Despite dire warnings from a Native American crew member named Queequay, who foresees doom and the efforts of various crew members, who try to prevent the voyage, their efforts come to no avail and Ahab’s obsession ends up costing many lives and sinking the ship.

Sadly after a fast-blooming literary success in the late 1840s, his popularity declined precipitously in the mid-1850s and never recovered during his lifetime. When he died in 1891, he was almost completely forgotten. It was not until the “Melville Revival” in the early 20th century that his work won recognition, especially Moby-Dick, which was hailed as one of the literary masterpieces of both American and world literature. He was the first writer to have his works collected and published by the Library of America. Melville sadly passed away on September 28, 1891 but has left behind some great literature including Moby Dick and many others. Moby Dick has also been adapted for film and television many times, once with Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab and once with Patrick Stewart in the same role.

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