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Moby Dick

Introduction by James Noel

American writer Herman Melville wrote Moby Dick in 1851 but it took decades before finally it was regarded as a great American novel, and worthy of its place amongst the greatest texts of humankind. It recounts the obsessive quest of Ahab, captain of a whaling ship seeking vengeance on Moby Dick, the white whale that had bitten off Ahab's leg on a previous voyage.

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Herman Melville (1819–91) is the author of the novel Moby Dick, which was a commercial failure during his lifetime but is now considered a classic. Born in New York City, Melville enjoyed some years as a successful writer following the publication of his first book Typee in 1896. He produced a number of travelogues and nautical works, inspired by his earlier experience as a sailor.