Published On: Fri, Nov 14th, 2014

This Day in History: Herman Melville’s Moby Dick Released in 1851

Herman Melville portrait by Joseph O. Eaton, Library of Congress

Herman Melville portrait by Joseph O. Eaton, Library of Congress

In 1851, Herman Melville’s novel ‘Moby Dick’, a classic story about a crazed voyager and his obsession with a huge whale, was published by Harper & Brothers in New York.

Starting with the famous opening line ‘Call me Ishmael’, Melville’s epic remains a classic today.

The novel has been adapted or represented in art, film, books, cartoons, television, and more than a dozen versions in comic book format. The most famous film was a 1956 version with John Huston.

According to History.com: “Herman Melville’s inspiration derived from his years at sea in the U.S. Navy, merchant marines and on whaling ships. After having success with his first novel, Typee and it’s sequel Omoo, Melville felt that writing was his calling. Unfortunately his next three novels would prove to be disappointments but Herman promised his publisher an adventurous novel that he believed would be an all around success. This ‘adventurous’ novel, turned into ‘Moby Dick’, an epic tragedy, inspired by Melville’s whaling journals.

Attempting to make up for his loss, he continued writing poetry and short stories but never found success in the literary world. Melville passed in 1891 and his writtings forgotten until years later when ‘Moby Dick’ would become a must read for many around the world.

Moby Dick comic book marvel comics

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