Herman Melville's "Moby-Dick" received considerable attention shortly after its publication in 1851. Melville's contemporaries reacted strongly to his work, and his innovations often received harsh criticism from his 19th-century audience. Interest in Melville's novel then subsided, until a revival began at the beginning of the 20th century. This volume collects the most significant writings on "Moby-Dick" to trace the critical response to the novel from the 19th century to now.
The introduction explores the reasons underlying the canonization of "Moby-Dick" and provides challenging new information about the Melville revival of the early 20th century. The sections that follow provide selections of criticism from Melville's contemporaries, the revival of the early 20th century, and academic criticism of the present day. The volume includes the most important critical essays on "Moby-Dick," along with reviews by Melville's contemporaries, articles never before reprinted, details gleaned from the correspondence of those who read and publicly commented on "Moby-Dick," and an original new essay.
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