On this day in 1851, Moby-Dick, a novel by Herman Melville about the voyage of the whaling ship Pequod, is published by Harper & Brothers in New York. Moby-Dick is now considered a great classic of American literature and contains one of the most famous opening lines in fiction: “Call me Ishmael.” Initially, though, the book about Captain Ahab and his quest for a giant white whale was a flop.
Herman Melville was born in New York City in 1819 and as a young man spent time in the merchant marines, the U.S. Navy and on a whaling ship in the South Seas. In 1846, he published his first novel, Typee, a romantic adventure based on his experiences in Polynesia. The book was a success and a sequel, Omoo, was published in 1847. Three more novels followed, with mixed critical and commercial results. Melville’s sixth book, Moby-Dick, was first published in October 1851 in London, in three volumes titled The Whale, and then in the U.S. a month later. Melville had promised his publisher an adventure story similar to his popular earlier works, but instead, Moby-Dick was a tragic epic, influenced in part by Melville’s friend and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, neighbor, Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose novels include The Scarlet Letter.
After Moby-Dick‘s disappointing reception, Melville continued to produce novels, short stories (Bartleby) and poetry, but writing wasn’t paying the bills so in 1865 he returned to New York to work as a customs inspector, a job he held for 20 years.
Melville died in 1891, largely forgotten by the literary world. By the 1920s, scholars had rediscovered his work, particularly Moby-Dick, which would eventually become a staple of high school reading lists across the United States. Billy Budd, Melville’s final novel, was published in 1924, 33 years after his death.
Herman Melville was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet.
He was born in New York City on the 1st of August 1819.
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is a novel was written by Herman Melville, it was first published in 1851.
Moby-Dick is considered to be one of the Great American Novels and a treasure of world literature.
– About Moby-Dick:
The story of Moby-Dick tells of the adventures of wandering sailor Ishmael, and his voyage on the whaleship Pequod, commanded by Captain Ahab.
Ishmael soon learns that Ahab has one purpose on this voyage: to seek out Moby Dick, a ferocious, enigmatic white sperm whale.
In a previous encounter, the whale destroyed Ahab’s boat and bit off his leg, which now drives Ahab to take revenge.
Herman Melville Melville died at his home in New York City early on the morning of September 28, 1891, age 72.
When he died, he was almost completely forgotten. It was not until the “Melville Revival” in the early 20th century that his work won recognition, especially Moby-Dick, which was hailed as one of the literary masterpieces of both American and world literature.
Moby Dick; Or The Whale
Bartleby, the Scrivener – A Story of Wall-Street
Typee, a Narrative of the Marquesas Islands
The White Jacket
Billy Budd & Other Stories (Wordsworth Classics)
Pierre; or The Ambiguities
The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade
– Movies about Moby-Dick:
There have also been several movies created about Moby-Dick
The Sea Beast (1926) – John Barrymore as Captain Ahab
Moby Dick (1930) – John Barrymore as Captain Ahab
Moby Dick (1956) – Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab
Moby Dick (1978) – Jack Aranson as 13 characters
Moby Dick (1998) – Patrick Stewart as Captain Ahab
Moby Dick (2011) – William Hurt as Captain Ahab
So, I’m flipping through my newest 2015 Essence from back to front because of the horoscope section and as I’m looking I see a section called “trending topics” reporting that the USTA just appointed former tennis player Katrina Adams, President, CEO and chairman of the board and the first African American to fill the role. So, more things have changed in the World of Sports in which women of colour historically have not dominated. While flipping through my 2014 issue of Essence with various fashions it was became obvious that this is not just about fashion, though the title gave me that impression and had to share given the history. In fact, it is about a Woman named Renee Powell and some young Women who were introduced to her and who have chosen her as their mentor. Now, the surprise to most would be that these brightly fashionable women are people of colour and that the article is about golf or as they say, “One of America’s favourite pastimes.” In fact my family lived just a few blocks away from a golf course and while golf wasn’t my choice the history of golf was well known in our house, including a couple of good along with the bad and the really ugly stories of racism. It is a sad day to know that the practice is still alive and well, though tiger woods did shatter the glass ceiling some. The art of discrimination is subtle these days, while the stories of’ the good ‘olé boys club were worse, golf is a work in progress. The article tells us about the ups and downs of Powell’s life and daily experiences as a young girl to becoming one of four African-American women qualifying for golf’s top pro-circuit … The LPGA Tour that included Althea Gibson, LaRee Pearl Sugg, Shasta Avery Hardt and Renee Powell. Their legacy on the links is gone into in depth. They list the youngest pro at 17, four others including the niece of tiger woods who also has a great story, but what is even more exciting is that after Powell retired she now owns her own golf club, is the golf pro. She also teaches and mentors a new generation of girls/women of colour who love the game and are willing to take it as far as they can. Golfing is not cheap, so, if you have an opportunity to donate to your area’s youth sports club or make time to teach train and expose kids of colour to golf … do it!
Oh and the article on Golf is in Essence and was written by Connie Aitcheson
and … “Trending Topics” is in the February issue of Essence