Herman Melville's Moby-Dickby Harold Bloom
Herman Melville was already considered to be a successful author when he wrote his masterpiece Moby-Dick in just under two years. Yet despite his earlier successes, the novel sold only 3,000 copies and was widely misunderstood by its nineteenth-century readers, who expected a more traditional sea-adventure novel. Melville never regained the popularity he'd experienced with his earlier books. Today, Moby-Dick is considered to be an undisputed classic, and many, including critics in this volume, believe it to be the epitome of the great American novel. With an unforgettable cast of characters, including the mad, obsessive Captain Ahab, Melville documents the Pequod crew's tragic hunt for the great white whale. The rich narrative unfolds in a digressive structure, encompassing a huge canvas of symbols, themes, and subjects, including history, religion, politics, race, philosophy, and science. As the critics in this volume attest, Melville weaves Biblical, mythological, and Shakespearean references into his story to create a human tragedy of vengeance and obsession.
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