Today on November 14, 1851, Herman Melville's thriller novel, Moby Dick, hit bookstore shelves across the United States — “Call me Ishmael.”
The adventure-packed novel, Moby Dick, was written by American author, Herman Melville. The book tells the story of Captain Ahab’s quest for revenge on Moby Dick, a massive white whale that bit off his leg on a previous expedition. Melville spent a year and a half writing his famed story, drawing upon his own experiences while at sea. He carefully describes what life was really like for crew members aboard whaling vessels at the time. He subtly addresses topics of social class, good and evil, and God.
Sadly, Melville’s iconic novel was a serious commercial failure after it was released. It is estimated only 3,200 copies were sold during his life. By the time of his death in 1891, Moby Dick was completely removed from production and could scarcely be found in stores. Throughout the twentieth century, Moby Dick slowly became a household name, garnering its reputation as a Great American Novel. Interestingly, Melville made a last-minute title change for its release in Britain, opting for the title “The Whale."