Google has featured a image of the sea captain, his ship Pequod and the Moby-Dick itself, showering water from a blowhole for the author’s 161th Birthday Google Doodle today 18th October 2012
The novel is now considered one of the greatest works of American fiction.
As historian Nathaniel Philbrick writes in a 2011 riveting Vanity Fair essay: “The irony is that when Moby-Dick was first published, in the fall of 1851, virtually no one, except for the author to whom the novel was dedicated, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and his wife, Sophia, seems to have taken much notice. By the time of Melville’s death, in 1891, Moby-Dick had sold a grand total of 3,715 copies — a third of the total that his first novel, Typee, had sold.”
Moby-Dick is a giant white sperm whale that had destroyed Ahab’s boat and bit off his leg during a previous voyage. Among Ahab’s crew is Ishmael, a young man undergoing a gruelling rite of passage and pursuing a different salvation. As the Pequod circles the globe like a latter-day Noah’s Ark, so Moby Dick ranges and digresses through space and time, through mythologies, religions and philosophies.
Also check out 5 Things you didn’t know about Herman Melville
1. In 1841 Herman joined a whaling ship voyage but deserted the ship and spent three weeks living among the Typee natives and wrote a book about his experience which became a bestseller
2. Herman wrote the novel Moby-Dick, also known as The Whale, which was first published in 1851
3. The book is considered to be one of the Great American Novels ever written
4. There have been numerous movies made about Moby Dick with the part of Captain Ahab being played by several actors including John Barrymore, Gregory Peck, Patrick Stewart and William Hurt
5. Herman Melville died at his New York home on September 28, 1891, aged 72