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 …

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Citation: Hager, Christopher. "Moby-Dick". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 July 2007; last revised 29 April 2020. [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=3576, accessed 30 September 2023.]

3576 Moby-Dick 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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