Herman Melville: Moby Dick

(3037 words)

Few literary works' reputations have traversed such monumental distances as Moby-Dick, itself a tale of a long, improbable voyage. Regarded upon its publication in 1851 as a middling, strange work by a declining author, and out of print for most of Herman Melville's lifetime, Moby-Dick came to be seen during the twentieth century as a central text in United States literature. Today, it is commonly hailed as the greatest American novel and even as the greatest novel written in English. How did a novel largely ignored during its first seventy years ascend to such heights? The multiple answers to this, one of literary history's most captivating questions, lie in both Melville's creation itself and the context of its …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Citation:
Hager, Christopher. "Moby Dick". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 July 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=3576, accessed 23 April 2014.]